BEIRUT

Middle East

Tunisian presidency extends state of emergency

Tunisia's ruling Ennahda Movement leader Rachid Ghannouchi speaks during a news conference in Tunis August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi (TUNISIA - Tags: POLITICS)

TUNIS: Tunisia's presidency said on Friday it has extended the country's state of emergency by one month until September 30, the seventh such extension since it first came into force on January 14, 2011.

The state of emergency has been in place since a mass uprising that prompted veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country.

Imed Daimi, spokesman for the presidency, told Shems FM radio that the decision for another extension had been taken "to coincide with the school year and the end of the tourist season."

He also said that "the security situation in the country has improved in recent times."

The state of emergency gives police special powers of intervention, and the army too has also been deployed in several areas, although its presence is low-key.

This summer was marked by several demonstrations in Tunisia, including in the town of Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the revolution.

Protests were often dispersed ruthlessly by the police who used tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators.

 

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