Soldiers fire in air to disperse Tunisia protesters


Tunisian soldiers fired in the air to disperse demonstrators in the southern town of Tozeur and several people were injured, a witness said.

About 50 unemployed workers had gathered outside the local government offices in the town demanding to see the governor to voice their anger about a lack of jobs, union worker Imed Bedoui said.

When he refused to meet them, they tried to storm the building and soldiers opened fire, he said. “Soldiers fired to disperse the demonstrators and some people were injured, one seriously,” Bedoui said by phone, Reuters reports.
“He was hit in the chest. I took him myself to hospital. He was in very serious condition.”

Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Bedoui said the demonstrators were young men and women.

On Friday, police in the capital Tunis had fired tear gas at a group of demonstrators throwing stones and burning tyres, the state TAP news agency said, quoting the Interior Ministry.

TAP said no one had been injured in the clashes, which came after earlier peaceful demonstrations in Tunis.

The violence disrupts a period of relative calm since the popular revolt that ended the autocratic rule of president Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Ben Ali was toppled by mass protests on January 14 after 23 years in power and fled to Saudi Arabia.

Interim authorities struggled to restore stability, but last month laid out a plan for a transition to democracy.

Tunisia’s interim authorities appointed a new government on March 7 and disbanded the state security apparatus, notorious for human rights abuses under Ben Ali.