A hardline Tunisian cleric has issued a religious edict saying that labor strikes against the ruling Islamist led government, were not permissible because they would harm the economy and the society.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, cleric Basheer Bin Husein said his ruling was based on the Quran and the and prophet’s teachings. He said if he were a business owner, he would fire any employee who goes on strike.
The birthplace of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, the city of Sidi Bouzid, was the scene of strikes and protests on Thursday as tensions rose between powerful unions and the ruling Islamist party.
Workers went on strike in Kasserine, Gafsa and Sfax, whose eponymous capital is Tunisia’s second city, as well as Sidi Bouzid, where the uprising started on December 17, 2010 that unseated former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The closure of the largest private and public employers in those areas was called by regional branches of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), AFP news agency reported, with only small shops and cafes open for business.
Hundreds of protesters also marched in the Gafsa and Sidi Bouzid regions, chanting slogans denouncing the Islamist party.