Five Tunisians tried to hang themselves outside a government office in central Tunisia this weekend, according to Agence France-Presse.
Witnesses said the five were rescued by bystanders from makeshift scaffolding set up in the town of Kasserine and rushed to a local hospital. All are reportedly in stable condition.
The men, all unemployed teachers between the ages of 34 and 43, attempted suicide after failing a government competition for work, according to witnesses.
The hanging attempt followed several days of demonstrations outside a ministry of education office in Kasserine.
"It was an act of desperation," witness Rachid Jabbari told AFP. "This first competition since the revolution was their last chance."
Tunisians rose up against their former autocratic leader, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in late December following the self-immolation death of a fruit vendor in the same impoverished region of the country.
(GlobalPost in central Tunisia: The making of a martyr: truth or legend?)
Tunisia’s battered economy has struggled to regain its footing after massive losses in the tourism sector since the ouster of Ben Ali in January.
Tunisians head to the polls on October 23 to elect a constituent assembly that will eventually draft the country’s new constitution.