General strike shuts birthplace of Tunisian uprising

A general strike was held Aug. 14 in Tunisia‘s Sidi Bouzid region to demand the release of detainees and resignation of the governor, the regional head of the National Guard, and the public prosecutor. The strike, called by the UGTT trade union federation, was widely observed, with all public and private businesses shut except the electric company. The detainees had been arrested in protests over the past weeks demanding development of the marginalized region, where water and power cuts are common. Sidi Bouzid is considered the birthplace of the Arab Spring; last year’s Tunisian uprising was sparked when a street vendor in the city torched himself in December 2010 in protest over his precarious livelihood. (Tunis Afrique Presse via AllAfrica, AFP, Aug. 14)