Business as usual: Tunisians defy terrorism threat despite curfews
Tunisians experienced a tough night on 24 November, after a suicide bomber targeted a bus transporting presidential guard members in the centre of the country's capital, Tunis.
Post-revolution Tunisia has been hit by a number of attacks targeting tourist destinations and security personnel, but the latest attack resulted in the Tunisian government announcing a month-long state of emergency and a curfew in the greater Tunis area.
|Terrorism will not deter us from going on with our daily lives as normal
- Abdul Karim al-Tayib
The capital's residents, accustomed to spending their evenings in cafes and restaurants, are no longer able to stay out past 9:00pm.
The new security measures had little impact on their lives, however.
"Terrorism will not deter us from going on with our daily lives as normal," said Abdul Karim al-Tayib, a civil servant who lives in the capital.
"I was shocked when I heard about the attack, but I'm sure that terrorist attacks will remain sporadic and not present a real danger to the stability of the country," added Tayib.
"I have full confidence that our security services are able to defend the country and foil terrorist plots".
The attack coincided with the Carthage Film Festival, at which shone the Arab stars of the silver screen. Despite the state of emergency and curfew imposed in the capital, the event went ahead after screening times were adjusted.
"Tunisians love theatre and cinema. I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to see the shows on offer because I was sure that the security services were keeping us safe," said student Ibtisam Ramadani.
Ibrahim al-Latif, the director of the film festival, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that screenings went ahead without incident and audiences did not abandon the festival due to security fears.
"Perhaps that was the strongest message by Tunisians, who defied terrorism and were not going to allow such incidents to change their daily lives," said Latif.
Nothing to fear
|Even so-called 'soft targets' such as restaurants and cafes did not lose business after the attack
Even so-called "soft targets" such as restaurants and cafes did not lose business after the attack, as business owners and hospitality workers reported that all was "business as usual".
"Many people thought that Tunisians would be afraid of terror attacks and avoid cafes in the city centre," said Ashraf Brahmi, a waiter at a central cafe.
"However, contrary to our expectations, the cafes did not lose any business - especially those of the Avenue Habib Bourguiba," Brahimi added.
Most Tunisians who spoke to al-Araby al-Jadeed said that they did not feel they had anything to fear, as armed groups seem to be targeting foreign tourists and security personnel - and not local civilians.
"Many terrorists have been caught with weapons inside cities, however they have not carried out attacks against Tunisian civilians. But does not mean we shouldn't be careful," said municipal worker Saleh al-Sharqi.
"Tunisians have to continue living their lives as normal so that things don't get worse in the country," added al-Sharqi. "We also have to project a good image abroad".