Tunisia suspends activities of ex-ruling party


Tunisia’s interior minister has suspended all activities of the former ruling party to prevent a breakdown in security, said an Interior Ministry source.

The announcement follows a series of violent incidents which security officials say are part of a conspiracy by officials close to ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to spread chaos and take back power.

In the latest in several days of clashes that have raised questions about whether Tunisia is returning to stability after Ben Ali’s departure, a man was killed during a protest in the southern Tunisian town of Kebili, Reuters reports.
“The minister of the interior has decided to suspend all activities and all meetings of the RCD (former ruling party) and to close down all its offices pending a judicial decision on its dissolution,” said the ministry source.
“(This is being done) because there is an extreme need and in order to prevent a breakdown of general security and to protect the higher interests of the country,” said the source, who did not want to be identified.

The same source said that clashes broke out in Kebili between police and protesters angry at the appointment of a new regional governor. The victim died after he was hit by a tear gas grenade, the source said.

Tunisia was convulsed by weeks of unrest before Ben Ali, in office for 23 years, was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. Several days of lawlessness followed his departure.

Since then stability has gradually been returning, but there has been a fresh flare-up of violence in the past few days.

Protests broke out in the town of Sidi Bouzid on Friday after two men being held in the police station there died when it caught fire. Two policemen were later arrested over the deaths.

Another two people died in the northern town of El Kef on Saturday when police opened fire to quell a protest against police. That protest started when a police officer slapped a woman in the face.