Tunisian unionists shout slogans in Tunis as they rally on December 4
Tunisian unionists shout slogans in Tunis as they rally on December 4. Tunisia's main labour union on Wednesday called for a rare nationwide general strike next week, as tensions rose in the run-up to the second anniversary of the country's revolution. © Khalil - AFP/File
Tunisian unionists shout slogans in Tunis as they rally on December 4
AFP
Last updated: December 5, 2012

Leading Tunisian union calls for December 13 nationwide strike

Tunisia's main labour union on Wednesday called for a rare nationwide general strike next week, as tensions rose in the run-up to the second anniversary of the country's revolution.

"The UGTT (General Union of Tunisian Workers) has decided that a general strike will take place on Thursday, December 13, across Tunisia," it told AFP.

It called the strike to protest an attack on Tuesday against a UGTT demonstration blamed by the union on supporters of the Islamist ruling party.

A union leader told AFP the UGTT demands the dissolution of the League for the Protection of the Revolution. It accuses the group, close to the ruling Ennahda party and with a reputation for brutal violence -- of Tuesday's attack.

The nationwide strike call is only the third to be made by the powerful UGTT since its foundation in the 1940s.

The first was in 1978 and the second work on January 12, 2011 -- two days before the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's regime.

On Tuesday, several dozen assailants attacked members of the UGTT, who were gathered outside the union's headquarters in Tunis to mark the 60th anniversary of the assassination of its founder, Farhat Hached.

Police intervened to separate the two sides, but 10 demonstrators were wounded in the attack, according to the trade union.

Ennahda, which heads Tunisia's ruling coalition after winning legislative elections in November 2011, strongly criticised Tuesday's violence against the demonstrators and called for restraint.

Clashes, strikes and attacks, including by hardline Islamists, have multiplied across Tunisia, plunging the country into a political impasse.

The UGTT organised a general strike and anti-government protests last week in the impoverished town of Siliana, southwest of the capital, over poor living conditions, which degenerated into five days of violence.

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