News / Africa

Police, Demonstrators Clash in Tunisian Capital

A soldier drives an armored vehicle through Ettadhamoun, west of Tunis, where riots reportedly took place, Jan 12, 2011
A soldier drives an armored vehicle through Ettadhamoun, west of Tunis, where riots reportedly took place, Jan 12, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

New clashes between police and demonstrators erupted Wednesday in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, after sporadic disturbances overnight.

The new wave of unrest took place just hours after Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced that the country's interior minister had been fired and replaced.

Ghannouchi told reporters the sacking of Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem would be accompanied by the appointment of committees to investigate recent violence and cases of official corruption.

Ghannouchi said all those who were arrested during the recent events that took place in parts of the country will be released, with the exception of those proven to be involved in acts of extreme violence, destruction and looting of property.

Tunisian Minister of Communication Samir Laabidi defended the government’s performance, saying outside forces have been trying to destabilize the situation.

Laabidi said that small groups of extremists have infiltrated popular demonstrations in order to take advantage of the situation and to create strife in the country. He specifically accused Islamic and leftist groups of infiltrating public protests.

Labidi said 21 people have died in the recent wave of unrest, challenging significantly higher figures presented by human rights groups.

Schools and universities across the country remain closed following a government decree, in an apparent bid to stifle a burgeoning student protest movement.

Khattar Abou Diab, who is professor of political science at the University of Paris III, argued that the protest movement has been mostly spontaneous and driven by young people, worried about unemployment.

Abou Diab said the catalyst for this crisis was a lack of employment opportunities for Tunisia’s educated professionals. Both in Tunisia and Algeria, he pointed out, the wave of protest has been led by those who are neglected by the system. Among them are young people without any future, embittered by political stagnation, a lack of freedom of expression or a free press, combined with unemployment and a global economic crisis.

Abou Diab notes that Tunisia combines an authoritarian political system with a free market economy that has traditionally performed better than that of most North African countries, along with a generally strong educational system.

He said the reaction of President Ben Ali has been mostly cosmetic, and doubts that promising to create more jobs and firing the interior minister will stifle protests.

The wave of unrest in Tunisia began last month after a 26-year-old university graduate set himself on fire when police confiscated merchandise he was hawking on the street. Authorities insisted he did not have a permit. The young man later died from third-degree burns.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid