Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has warned that members of ISIL living in Libya may use the current unrest in Tunisia to sneak into the country.
Protests and clashes in the western Kasserine province of Tunisia started last Saturday, after the death of an unemployed man who was electrocuted on top of a power pole near the governor’s office.
Over the past week, they have intensified and spread to other parts of the country, leading President Essebsi to announce on television on Friday that the government will put in place a programme to try to ease the rate of unemployment that has spurred the protests, especially in impoverished regions.
Such protests were “natural”, Essebsi said in his address. “There is no dignity without work… You can’t tell someone who has nothing to eat to stay patient.”
“After the start of these demonstrations, ill-intentioned hands have intervened and inflamed the situation,” the president continued.
Essebsi said that there were “dirty hands” involved in the unrest after Tunis declared a nationwide curfew over the protests.
“We have more than 700,000 unemployed, among them 300,000 youth who have qualifications and cannot find a job. And they are being targeted by outside forces, ISIL and others,” he said.
Economic conditions have worsened since the previous autocratic president, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, was toppled in 2011 and the country, still trying to transform into a democracy, is facing its worst unrest since then.
- Pray for Tunisia, for peace on the streets and in the hearts of the Tunis people.
- Pray for protection for Tunisia from radical Islamic groups, such as ISIL. Pray especially for the disillusioned young people on Tunisia, that they will find hope and life through the Gospel of Jesus, not radical Islam.
- Pray for the government of Tunisia, to find ways to provide meaningful employment for the thousands of unemployed people.
- Pray for this country as it seeks the way forward both politically and spiritually.
Psalm 82 vs 3: “Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.”