Tunisia imposes state of emergency after deadly beach attack

Tunisia declared a state of emergency Saturday, eight days after a gunman killed dozens of foreign tourists at a Mediterranean beach resort.


Tunisia’s emergency laws temporarily give the government more executive flexibility, hand the army and police more authority, and restrict certain rights such as those dealing with public assembly and detention.

In March, gunmen killed 22 people, mostly tourists, at The National Bardo Museum outside Tunis. “If attacks like Sousse happen again, the country will collapse”.

A state of emergency has been declared in Tunisia following last week’s jihadist beach massacre.

The President of the Republic may take measures required by this exceptional situation after consultations with the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament and after having informed the President of the Constitutional Court, the article stipulates, Tunis Afrique Press (TAP), the official news agency, reported.

An aide to Tunisia’s prime minister said Saturday that several officials including the Sousse governor and from the assailant’s home town and from where he studied, as well as police officers, had been sacked.

In a television address to the nation announcing that a state of emergency would be reinstated, President Beji Caid Essebsi said “exceptional measures” were now needed.

The declaration comes one week after a gunman killed 38 foreign tourists at a beach hotel in the northern city of Sousse.

Eileen Swannack from Biddestone near Chippenham and her partner John Welch from Corsham were killed in the attack at the holiday resort of Sousse just over a week ago.

Essebsi blamed the poor security in Libya for Tunisia’s problems, and the lack of global resolve in targeting the Islamic State group across the region.

The country has previously been under a state of emergency from January 2011, at the outbreak of the Arab Spring, until March 2014.

Though Tunisian hoteliers have been praised for their heroic actions, the losses to the north African country’s tourism industry is estimated at U.S. $500 million.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for the attack by a Tunisian identified as 23-year-old Seifeddine Rezgui who pulled a Kalashnikov assault rifle from inside a beach umbrella and went on a bloody rampage at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel.

British Home Secretary Theresa May described Friday’s attack as “a despicable act of cruelty”.


The authorities have said Rezgui received weapons training from jihadists in neighbouring Libya, travelling to the chaos-wracked country at the same time as the two young Tunisians behind the Bardo attack.

The campaign urges tourists not to abandon Tunisia