Tunisia police protest over pay, work conditions


Several thousand Tunisian policemen protested in front of the prime minister’s office on Thursday, chanting and demanding more pay and better working conditions as they face Islamist militants targeting security forces.

Chanting “Leave” and “Give us our rights,” protesters gathered near the premier’s office in the second rally by police to test Prime Minister Habib Essid whose government is already trying to calm tensions among after riots over jobs last month.
“We’ve come out a second time because the government does not want to understand. We are demanding our financial rights, and a better salary and risk premiums we deserve,” police union secretary-general Chokri Hamada told Reuters.

Since its 2011 uprising, Tunisia has been hailed as a model of democratic transition with free elections and a new constitution, but its economic progress to reform public spending, reduce deficits and create jobs has lagged.

The government now faces increasing challenges, including a split in the ruling party Nidaa Tounes, a stubborn Islamist militant insurgency, a weak economy and the explosion last month of social tensions among youth over jobs and opportunities.

Thousands of young men took to the streets after an unemployed man committed suicide when he was refused a job. That sparked protest and riots across the country until the government declared a nationwide curfew.

Islamic State is also making inroads in Tunisia, carrying out two major attacks last year on a Sousse hotel and a Tunis museum, both targetting foreign visitors as a way to strike at the tourism industry that is a major source of jobs and revenue.