Severity: Warning Alert

Civil Unrest: Additional protests and strikes likely in Tunisia through July 31 due to growing unemployment caused by COVID-19. Increased security likely.

  • Alert Begins: 10 Jul 2020 12:18 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:00 PM UTC
  • Event: Protests, strikes
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least July 31
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, heightened security; possible clashes

Summary
Additional strikes and protests by various sectors of the economy are likely across Tunisia through at least July 31, following recent demonstrations and labor actions in multiple cities, including Beja, Gafsa, Kasserine, Sfax, and Tunis. Increasing numbers of residents have been protesting in response to heightened unemployment due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions. Protesters further maintain that the government has failed to enact and implement serious economic reforms and development projects to create jobs.

Any gatherings that may materialize over the coming days will likely occur around popular protest sites, including public squares, city centers, and government buildings. Localized transport disruptions are likely. Security forces will probably deploy near all demonstration sites; clashes remain possible if protesters are overly disruptive or fail to observe existing COVID-19-related social distancing guidelines.

Background and Analysis
Nationwide protests and strikes in response to socioeconomic conditions are prevalent in Tunisia. However, COVID-19 has prompted concerns over social and political instability as it has significantly degraded Tunisia's tourism industry, which constitutes almost 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The current unemployment rate of 15 percent will likely rise as the economic impact of COVID-19 is felt throughout the country. Eastern and southern governorates will be particularly susceptible to demonstrations in the coming weeks and months due to the scarcity of employment opportunities and lack of development.

Advice
Avoid all announced or proposed protest actions due to the potential for violence. Exercise caution near likely protest locations. Monitor local media for protest activity, as organizers may not announce plans in advance. Confirm the availability of transport and allow additional time to reach destinations. Plan for increased security and localized transport disruptions near demonstrations. Follow all police instructions.


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