Tunisia says unrest 'under control' while France offers aid

Tunisia says unrest 'under control' while France offers aid
After days widespread protests, Tunisia's prime minister has said that the unrest has been contained as a France offers $1 billion
2 min read
22 January, 2016
Anti-unemployment protests have spilled over into violence in some areas of Tunisia [AFP]

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid has that unrest in the North African country has been "brought under control", after days or protests and riots.

The announcement came as France Prime Minister Francois Hollande revealed a $1.1 billion aid package to the crisis-hit country.

"A major aspect of the plan aims to help poor regions and young people, putting the focus on employment," said the office of French President Francois Hollande following a meeting with Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid in Paris.

Essid who flew back from a meeting with Hollande in Paris said the worst of the unrest was over.

"The situation is calm... and has been brought under control," Essid said.

The news comes after the interior ministry announced that a night-time curfew would be enforced after anti-unemployment protests developed into violence, and reached the capital by the end of the week.

The curfew will take place between 8pm and 5am in an effort to stop looting and clashes with police, which are said to have erupted in some Tunisian cities.

Authorities arrested 16 people on charges of vandalism on Friday, in one Tunis suburb.

In the outskirts of the capital Tunis young people were said to have looted a bank, stores and warehouses, the Associated Press reported.

"In light of these attacks against public and private property, and given that the continuation of these acts represents a danger to the security of citizens, it was decided to declare a curfew across Tunisia from 8pm to 5am," the interior ministry said in a statement.

"Anyone disobeying this decision risks prosecution, apart from medical emergencies and those working at night."

Protests erupted on Sunday, when a young man from Kasserine, who lost out on a government job, climbed a transmission tower in protest and was electrocuted.

Unrest quickly spread to other parts of Tunisia.

Tunisia's economy has performed badly in recent months and a series of terrorist attacks on tourists has led to further losses of incomes.

Unemployment is already high at 15 percent, and even higher among youth at 30 percent.

"Are we not Tunisians too? It's been four years I've been struggling. We're not asking for much, but we're fighting for our youth. We struggled so much for them," the mother of an unemployed graduate in Kesserine told the Associated Press.

Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid, cut short a visit to France to deal with the protests