Tunisian Security Forces Fire Tear Gas to Disperse Protesters

Saturday, 01 Dec 2012 11:55 AM

 

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SILIANA, Tunisia — Tunisian security forces fired tear gas and live rounds in the air on Saturday to try to disperse several thousand protesters in a town that has seen days of clashes this week over economic problems in the North African state.

National guard forces belonging to the interior ministry fired tear gas and rounds from inside armored personnel carriers in the town of Siliana, northwest of Tunis on the edge of the Sahara desert.

"Get out, get out!" "With our blood and soul we sacrifice ourselves for you, Siliana" and "Siliana will be the graveyard of the Ennahda party," the protesters, who numbered around 3,000, chanted while throwing stones at security forces.

Police chased protesters, who included some women, down streets in an apparent effort to arrest them.

The Islamist Ennahda party that won Tunisia's first post-Arab Spring elections last year has rejected calls to remove the Ennahda governor of the deprived region, accusing leftist politicians of inciting the protests.

The government is struggling to revive the economy in the face of a decline in trade with the crisis-hit euro zone and disputes between secularists and hardline Salafi Islamists over the future direction of the country.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki asked the Islamist prime minister Hamadi Jebali in an address on state TV on Friday to appoint a new Cabinet in response to the protests.

The protests are the fiercest since hardline Salafi Islamists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tunis in September over an anti-Islam film made in California. That violence left four people dead. 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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