Tunisia imposes curfew

2011-05-08 09:52

Tunis -Tunisia on Saturday declared an overnight curfew in and around the capital after several days of unrest there.

The curfew will run from 21:00 05:00 until further notice, the defence and interior ministries said in a joint statement cited on television and by the official TAP agency.

The measure was necessary, because of "violence and pillaging" on the outskirts of Tunis over the past few days, said the statement.

One resident said that youths had ransacked and pillaged a major electrical goods store and a pharmacy and set fire to several vehicles in the deprived Ethadamen district.

The district was at the centre of protests in January during the uprising that led to the fall of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

There have also been unconfirmed report of unrest in the southern city of Gabes and in Sidi Bouzid, in the centre of the country, where the Tunisian uprising started back in December.

In Tunis itself, a series of protests against the transitional government on Thursday and Friday were brutally put down by the security forces.

The interior ministry apologised on Friday after police broke up the protests using tear gas, truncheons and iron bars, attacking protesters and journalists covering the event indiscriminately.

The National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) and a Paris-based media watchdog also denounced the police action: the SNJT said 15 local and international media professionals had been assaulted by the police.

Late on Saturday in Tunis, there was no traffic moving on the Avenue Bourguiba, where the clashes took place. Police had set up barbed wire outside the offices of the interior ministry, an AFP journalist noted.

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