Tunisia renews state of emergency

Tunisia renews state of emergency
Tunisia's presidency has issued a statement announcing the extension of the country's state of emergency for an additional two months from Monday.
2 min read
31 July, 2015
Tunisian Minister Kamel Jendoubi is heading the crisis group set up after the attack [Getty]

A state of emergency, imposed in Tunisia after an extremist gunman killed 38 foreign tourists in June, is to be extended for two months, the president's office said on Friday.

"After consultations with the prime minister and the speaker, the president has decided to extend the state of emergency in force nationwide for two months from August 3," a statement said.

On July 4 - six days after the gun attack at the Mediterranean resort of Port El Kantaoui - President Beji Caid Essebsi ordered a state of emergency for an initial 30 days.

It was one of a raft of measures introduced by the authorities after the seaside massacre, which dealt a heavy blow to the country's key tourism industry.

The government began arming tourism police for the first time and reinforced them with troops in a bid to reassure foreign governments.

But Britain, whose nationals accounted for 30 of the dead, warned against all but essential travel to Tunisia, saying that more needed to be done to make it safe to holiday in.

A state of emergency, granting special powers to the police and army, was in force for three years up until March 2014, following longtime secular president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ouster in a 2011 revolution.

Apart from allowing the barring of strike action, the measure allows the authorities to carry out raids on homes at any time of the day and to keep tabs on the media.

Tunisia has witnessed a rise in extremist activity, and the country contributes the largest number of foreign fighters to the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS).

Other Tunisians are joining the ranks of Libya's armed groups - some linked either to IS or al-Qaeda - and taking part in a sideshow battle against Tobruk and Tripoli forces in the country's civil war.

Earlier this month, Tunisia announced that it will construct an "anti-terror barrier" along its border with Libya, to curb the inflow of militants into the country.