FILE PHOTO: A Tunisian protester prays during a sit-in at El Kamour oilfield, demanding jobs and a share in revenue from the…
FILE - A Tunisian protester prays during a sit-in at the Kamour oilfield, demanding jobs and a share in revenue from the area's natural resources, near the town of Tatouine, Tunisia, May 11, 2017.

Hundreds of protesters demanding the government keep its promise to create jobs have shut down a key oil pumping station in southern Tunisia, Reuters reported Thursday.

Witnesses said the demonstrators closed in on the Kamour station despite the presence of soldiers guarding the installation.

The demonstrators were looking to pressure the Tunisian government into following through with a 2017 deal to create jobs in the oil industry and other infrastructure projects in the southern Tatouine region, where unemployment is said to be more than 30%. Those who live there say the central government has ignored them.  

Police clashed with anti-government protesters in Tatouine earlier this week after the government said the Tunisian economy had taken a beating from the coronavirus epidemic and sought debt relief from some lenders.  

Tunisia's economic woes come on top of government turmoil after Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh resigned Wednesday. He stepped down over a possible conflict of interest involving government contracts with a waste treatment plant in which he allegedly held shares.  

The prime minister said he sold his stake in the company. An investigation is under way, but Fakhfakh said he would stay on as a caretaker prime minister until a successor was named.

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