Tunisian police clash with protesters

2011-04-02 10:04

Tunis - Police fired tear gas on stone-throwing youths in Tunisia's capital after a demonstration by hundreds of Islamists protesting the country's secular laws on Friday.

The violence at the end of a day of peaceful, small protests disrupted a period of relative calm in the North African country, where an uprising ousted the longtime president in January and prompted revolts around the Arab world.

It was unclear whether anyone was injured or arrested in the clash.

Protesters held two demonstrations in Tunis on Friday, one by a group demanding more economic freedoms and another by young Islamists shouting "God is great" and other religious slogans.

Their demonstration came as the Interior Ministry announced on Friday that women were no longer required to take off headscarves for official state ID cards.

The Islamist protesters want the government to remove restrictions on the headscarf in public buildings and other measures.

Police showed up in force Friday to ring the historic Casbah to try to prevent violence at the planned protests. The Casbah saw tensions during protests earlier this year, in which scores of people were killed when police under Ben Ali's hard-line regime fired on protesters.