Tunisian protesters closing the road between Ben Gardane and Ras Ajdir border have stepped up their protest by preventing Libyan citizens on the Tunisian side from crossing the border to Libya after their protest was only limited to the denial of entry to Tunisia.

The protesters, mostly from the town of Ben Gardane south of Tunisia, have been closing the road from the border of Ras Ajdir to other Tunisian cities for weeks to protest the strict measures imposed by the Libyan authorities on the cross-border smuggling of goods and fuel.

According to local sources, the protesters are involved in the smuggling of fuel and goods between the two countries, adding that they threatened to go on a general strike in Ben Gardane next Monday.

For its part, the Committee on Fuel and Gas Crisis announced that the protesters in Ben Gardane imposed a full closure of Ben Gardane - Ras Ajdir road, including cars and Libyan trucks returning to Libya.

On its Facebook, the Committee said that it considers the step as a new escalation, calling all Libyan citizens leaving Tunisia by car, to use the Wazen-Dahiba border until further notice.

The Libyan authorities closed on July 10 Ras Ajdir border from both sides indefinitely due to the ill-treatment of Libyan nationals and lack of seriousness of the Tunisian authority in managing the crossing border.