Tunisia condemns extremists

2012-06-13 19:17

Tunis - Tunisia's top authorities on Wednesday condemned both "extremist groups that threaten freedoms" and "attacks on religion" after rioting blamed on hardline Islamists over an art exhibition.

A joint statement by the heads of the state, the constituent assembly and the government followed the most serious unrest since the Arab Spring, in which one person was killed and around 100 injured, and 165 arrested.

The statement issued by Moncef Marzouki, Mustapha Ben Jaafar and Hamadi Jebali respectively warned against "plans by provocateurs and extremists to perturb authority and sow terror".

"Extremist groups are threatening freedoms, claim the right to substitute themselves for state institutions and try to bring places of worship under their control," it charged.

"These groups are infiltrated by criminals... the ghosts of the ousted regime are trying to block the process of transition."

At the same time, however, "attacks on religion do not stem from freedon of expression [but] aims to provoke and sow discord as well as take advantage of a sensitive situation to stoke tension," the statement said.