TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisian police fired teargas and rubber bullets on Thursday to disperse protesters demanding jobs in Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the revolution that ousted Tunisia’s autocratic leader last year and triggered the Arab Spring uprisings.
Doctors at Sidi Bouzid’s hospital said six people were injured during the protest, which drew hundreds of young Tunisians demanding jobs, more investment in their region and the dismissal of the city’s governor.
The protest reflected how far Tunisia has to go to fulfil the promise of its revolution, which began with the death of jobless university graduate Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself on fire in despair after police confiscated his unlicensed fruit and vegetable cart.
His protest against lack of opportunity sparked demonstrations across the country, forced President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee and lit the fuse of the Arab Spring.
“Where are Sidi Bouzid’s rights, Where are the martyrs’ rights?” the protesters chanted, showing impatience with the new government, led by Ennahda Islamist Movement and two secular parties, for failing to quickly tackle poverty and unemployment.
Police started firing teargas and rubber bullets after the protesters sought to make their way to the governor’s offices, Attia Athmouni, a trade union activist said.
Street anger has been on the rise in several parts of the country among Tunisians eager to see the dividends of democratic change, particularly in terms of job creation and wealth redistribution.
Rising prices and interruptions of water supplies in several provinces at the height of summer have added to the tension.