A number of residents in the border city of Ben gardane organized protests on Saturday evening, demanding the opening of the border crossing of Ras Ajdair with Libya, and finding development solutions for thousands of workers in inter-trade between Tunisia and Libya.

A number of activists work in what is known as “inter-trade” between the two countries gathered at Al-Maghreb Al-Arabi crossroads in Ben gardane, calling on the authorities to intervene urgently and coordinate with the Libyan side to accelerate the resumption of their trade, which had been suspended since March 19, after the Libyan authorities closed the border. 

The Head of the Tunisian Observatory for Human Rights, Mustafa Abdel Kabir, confirmed that the protesters burned tires in the center of the city, before security units had intervened to disperse them. He said, in a press statement, that “most of the protesters are either merchants working in intra-regional trade or workers in shops that supply goods to Libya,” noting that “the continued closure of the border has placed them in forced unemployment and threatens their source of livelihood.”

Tunisians continue to be prevented from entering Libya, after the Ras Ajdair border was closed, following armed clashes, while Tunisians in Libya were allowed to cross the opposite way, and some individuals were asked to cross via Al-Dhiba Wazen border.

The Libyan Ministry of Interior issued "immediate orders to close the border following what it described as outlaw groups attacking the border's facilities to create chaos."

A recent World Bank study estimated the volume of fuel smuggled across the Libyan-Tunisian border at about 495 million liters, representing more than 17% of fuel consumption in the country.

The smuggled goods are distributed throughout most of the governorates of southern Tunisia, reaching as far as central Tunisia, which is more than 250 kilometers away from the Ben gardane region, the main supply area.

Abdel Kabir expected that “the Ras Ajdair border will be reopened to the movement of individuals and goods in the coming days, after the Libyan side makes the necessary arrangements.”