Tunisia: 11 arrested after clashes with security forces

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Tunisia’s interior ministry said on Tuesday 11 people were arrested during clashes between protesters and security forces in the central Sidi Bouzid region.

Protests in the town of Jelma started on Saturday, a day after Abdelwaheb Hablani, 25, set himself on fire in the centre of the town in protest against poverty and poor living conditions. He later died in hospital.

The incident echoed the 2010 self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi, whose death triggered the Arab Spring.

Khaled Hayouni, a spokesperson for the interior ministry, told newsmen that residents blocked roads and attacked police on Saturday and Sunday nights.

“Youths aged between 11 and 18 attacked law enforcement officers during the night, throwing stones at them and wounding 20 officers,” Hayouni said.

Security forces used tear gas to disperse the protesters.

“The situation is difficult here. Police are flexing their muscles and they fired tear gas everywhere,” Bilel Harzali, a local resident, was quoted as saying by Reuters News Agency.

“The scene brings to mind the days of the revolution … People are angry because of the lack of development and the strong security response,” he added.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights expressed “deep concern at the state of social tension in Jelma”.

Titi