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Tunisia extends state of emergency by another month

Law allows banning of strikes, meetings, temporary closure of theatres, bars, measures to control media
Tunisia's parliament meets in capital Tunis (AFP/file photo)

Tunisia announced on Saturday that a state of emergency in force since a deadly attack on the presidential guard last November will be extended by one month.

A statement said that after consulting the premier and head of the national assembly, President Beji Caid Essebsi decided that the measure would be extended from 19 September for a month.

The law allows the authorities to ban strikes and meetings that might "provoke or maintain disorder," to temporarily close theatres and bars, and to "take every measure to secure control of the press and all types of publications".

Tunisia has suffered from a wave of militant violence since the 2011 revolt that ousted longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed attacks last year on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis and a beach resort that killed 59 tourists.

After a suicide bombing in the capital last November killed 12 members of the presidential guard and was claimed by IS, authorities declared the state of emergency and a curfew in Tunis.

The curfew was later lifted, but the state of emergency has remained in place and is now being extended for the sixth time.

In March, dozens of militants attacked security installations in the town of Ben Guerdane on the border with Libya.

And late last month, an al-Qaeda-linked group, Obka Ibn Nafaa Battalion, claimed responsibility for a blast that killed three soldiers near Mount Sammama, a hideout for militants at war with Tunisian authorities.

Several thousand Tunisians have joined militant groups including the Islamic State group in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring Libya.

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