Tunisia extends nationwide state of emergency by six months

TUNIS, TUNISIA - OCTOBER 13: Tunisian President Kais Saied talks to media after the first exit poll in presidential runoff vote (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Tunisia on Friday extended a state of emergency which has been in place since 2015 by a further six months.

FILE PHOTO: Tunisian President Kais Saied during a past event. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

The state of emergency was imposed in the North African country in November 2015 following an attack on a presidential guard bus which killed 12 guards and was claimed by the Islamic State group.

A statement from the presidency said President Kais Saied “decided on the six-month extension of the nationwide state of emergency, from December 26, 2020, to June 23, 2021.”

The state of emergency has been prolonged continuously since its imposition and gives the nation’s security agencies extraordinary powers.

These powers include measures to “ensure the control of the press” and for strikes and meetings that “create disorder” to be prohibited.

Tunisian authorities have battled against militant groups which operate in remote areas near the border with Algeria since the 2011 uprising which ousted the government of Zine Abidine Ben Ali.

Though security in the North African country has improved since the measure was imposed, it has recently witnessed political and social instability, in addition to protests in several regions.