State of emergency in Tunisia extended

  • 01/08/2015
A memorial was held at a beach in Sousee, Tunisia after the attack (Reuters)
A memorial was held at a beach in Sousee, Tunisia after the attack (Reuters)

A state of emergency imposed in Tunisia after a jihadist gunman killed 38 foreign tourists in June is to be extended for two months.

"After consultations with the prime minister and the speaker, the president has decided to extend the state of emergency in force nationwide for two months from August 3," the president's office announced on Friday (local time) in a statement.

On July 4 - eight days after the gun attack at the Mediterranean resort of Port El Kantaoui - President Beji Caid Essebsi ordered a state of emergency for an initial 30 days.

Presidency spokesman Moez Sinaoui told AFP that the state of emergency extension was decided because Tunisia remained "at war against terrorism".

The decision was not the result of a specific threat "but because the causes (of its initial imposition) are still there", Sinaoui said.

The state of emergency was one of a raft of measures introduced by the authorities after the seaside massacre, which dealt a heavy blow to Tunisia's key tourism industry.

The government began arming tourism police for the first time and reinforced them with troops in a bid to reassure foreign governments.

But Britain, whose nationals accounted for 30 of the dead, warned against all but essential travel to Tunisia, saying more needed to be done to make it a safe holiday destination.

A state of emergency, granting special powers to the police and army, was in force for three years up until March 2014, following longtime secular president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ouster in a 2011 revolution.

Apart from allowing the barring of strike action, the measure authorises the authorities to carry out raids on homes at any time of the day and to keep tabs on the media.