A refugee camp burned down in Tunisia that housed African migrant workers who have been forced to leave Libya due to the actions of counter-revolutionary rebels backed-up by the United States and NATO. Many refugees have been killed and injured., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Tunisian borders closes briefly following protests
By Houda Mzioudet.
The border crossing at Ras Jedir
Tunis, 11 December
The Ras Jedir border crossing between Tunisia and Libya reopened late yesterday evening, Monday, after being closed in the afternoon as a result of a protest by Tunisian traders, mostly from Ben Guerdane.
According to a Tunisian customs official, the traders had blocked the road in protest at Tunisian vehicles being refused permission to leave Libya because they did not fulfill new Libyan customs’ procedures. He told the Libya Herald that it reopened around 9-10 pm last night.
He said he thought a couple of Libyan vehicles might have been attacked the protests but there has been no confirmation of this.
Eyewitnesses told local radio station Radio Tataouine that the traders had gone to the border post to put pressure on the authorities to reassess the new Libyan measures on cross-border trade. The new measures require Tunisian traders to produce commercial licenses and pay customs taxes. The traders say this restricts their activities. According to Radio Tataouine, it has resulted in cross-border trade.
Merchants put the blame on the Tunisian authorities which introduced a new measure imposing an export license on agricultural products. This measure brought about similar proceedings from Libyan authorities in direct response to the Tunisian move.
Traders told the Tunisian Press Agency TAP correspondent that the Libyan authorities had given them a deadline of three days to settle the status of their goods, which ended yesterday. The new procedure stipulated that goods transported between Libya and Tunisia would be subjected to the new measures. According to eyewitnesses this move has resulted in some 200 vehicles being held by Libyan customs.
The traders’ road block resulted large tail-backs of traffic on both sides of the border. “Libyan ambulances kept crossing into Tunisia as usual,” the Tunisian Ras Jedir border crossing official confirmed, however.