BEIRUT

Middle East

Tunisia-Libya border reopens after violent protest

  • A police officer fires tear gas to break up a protest against the closure of the Ras Jdir border crossing with Libya in Ben Guerdane, southeast of Tunis January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Amine ben Aziza

RAS JDIR, Tunisia: Ras Jadir, the main border crossing between Libya and Tunisia, reopened on Thursday after violent protests on the Tunisian side against Tripoli's decision to close it for security reasons.

Lorries were crossing between the countries, an AFP journalist reported, three days after Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali flew to Tripoli following clashes in the Tunisian town of Ben Guerdane, 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Ras Jdir.

Despite the border reopening, Ben Guerdane residents observed a general strike on Thursday to demand investment and jobs, with only chemists, hospitals and bakeries remaining open.

More than 300 people, most of them traders angry at the damage caused to their business, had demonstrated against the closure. Protesters threw rocks at security forces, who fired tear gas in response.

Tripoli decided to close the Ras Jdir crossing point on December 4, after complaints by Libyans about being attacked in Tunisia. It later ordered the closure of its land borders with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Algeria.

The Libyan conflict that ousted Moammer Kadhafi in 2011 saw arms and fighters scattered across the region, notably to Mali, where Islamist militants have occupied the north, while southern Libya has also been plagued by unrest.

Unemployment and tough living conditions in Tunisia -- driving factors behind the uprising there two years ago that touched off the Arab Spring -- continue to fuel social discontent, with strikes and protests often degenerating into violence.

 
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here