Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The mass demonstration in Tunisia, which began after a young unemployed graduate (Mohamed Bouazizi) tried to set himself ablaze in protest against "bad living conditions and unemployment", has entered its 12th day with action spreading to most parts of Tunisia, PANA reported Wednesday.
The action, which began in the town of Sidi Bouzid (Centre), has continued for the 12th consecutive day with protesters marching on several other cities in northern, southern and central Tunisia, including Sfax, Sousse, Medenine, Kef, Kasserine and Gafsa.
The protesters are demanding the right to work and development in all regions of the country.
PANA reports that the demonstrators are now peaceful after the initial action resulted in the death of one protester following their clashes with the police.
Hundreds of trade unionists and citizens, chanting slogans condemning the high cost of living and unemployment, are participating in the demonstration.
Faced with the escalation of the crisis, Tunisian President Zine El Abine Ben Ali, according to the official Tunisian News Agency (TAP), has ordered the launch of a first tranche of projects, at a cost of US$ 15 million, to create jobs in the region of Sidi Bouzid.
The Tunisian government has also taken the initiative, since the outbreak of protests, to announce several new projects and development plans in many areas where economic conditions are fragile, including Kasserine, Kef and Jendouba, to try to stem the tide of growing anger and prevent the demonstration from spreading further.
Tunisian press made matters worse by under reporting or not even mentioning the demonstrations in their bulletins.
Even the Tunisian National Assembly and opposition parties have criticized the international media coverage of the protests, saying their coverage "was intended to tarnish the reputation of the country and mislead people".
Unemployment for university graduates in Tunisia has become one of the greatest challenges for the government that says it is working towards creating more job opportunities for graduates who make up one-fifth (500,000) of job seekers in the country.
President Ben Ali promised, in 2009, to create 415,000 new jobs by 2014 and reduce the unemployment rate which is currently at 14 per cent.
-0- PANA BY/FA/JSG/JEN/VAO 29Dec2010