News / Middle East

Tunisian Security Forces Clash With Youths in Fresh Protests

People stand outside an official building with a charred car in M'nihla, outside Tunis,  Jan.13, 2011. Sporadic sounds of clashes and rounds of gunfire echoed in the suburbs of Tunisia's capital early Thursday as youths defied a government curfew order ai
People stand outside an official building with a charred car in M'nihla, outside Tunis, Jan.13, 2011. Sporadic sounds of clashes and rounds of gunfire echoed in the suburbs of Tunisia's capital early Thursday as youths defied a government curfew order ai
TEXT SIZE - +

Eyewitnesses say Tunisian security forces have clashed with groups of mostly young protesters in the capital Tunis Thursday, along with scattered reports of clashes in other cities.  
.
Al-Jazeera TV showed a video of a Tunisian Army convoy trying to advance amid a large crowd as riot police appeared to confront the crowd from a nearby side street. The sound of gunfire could be heard at several points.

Chawki Tabib, attorney and former president of the Association of Young Tunisian Lawyers tells VOA that he saw security forces firing on the crowd in the center of the capital.

He says that he and a group of colleagues saw security forces near the headquarters of Tunisian government radio firing on young protesters waving Tunisian flags and throwing rocks at them. He adds that the security forces fired tear gas at the protesters before resorting to real bullets.

Tunisian government TV also showed images of businesses and government offices that appeared to have been ransacked and burned in a number of cities and towns. It complained that uncontrolled mobs of demonstrators were looting and pillaging private and government property.

Tunisian President Zein al Abdine Ben Ali addressed the country Thursday night on government TV, saying that he was setting up a committee to study popular grievances.

He says that he is setting up a national committee made up of independent national figures that have credit with all sectors of society to look at elections, the press, universities and other things in the lead up to parliamentary elections in 2014.

Protesters have continued to defy a government ordered curfew in the capital Tunis, and clashes between large crowds and riot police have resulted in a number of casualties. Human rights groups say that four people were killed, while al-Jazeera TV claims that 11 died in the violence.

Prime Minister Ghannouchi announced Wednesday that he had fired and replaced the country’s interior minister. He also announced that demonstrators not involved in looting would be released.

The wave of unrest began in December when a 26-year-old university graduate set himself on fire after police confiscated goods he was hawking on the street.  Authorities said he was selling without a permit.  

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the government to stop security forces from using excessive force against protesters.  Navi Pillay also has urged Tunisia to launch a "transparent and credible investigation" into the unrest.

 

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid