Dead man in Rgueb, (picture Lina Ben Mhenni)
Five people have been killed on Sunday during clashes with the army in the Tunisian city of Rgueb. Their names were Manel Boullagui (26, a mother of two), Raouf Kadoussi (26), Mohamed Jabli Ben Ali (19), Moadh Ben Amor Khlifi (20) and Nizar Ben Ibrahim. In Sousse the 42 year old Khaled Khedimin put fire to himself and died. In Meknassy a 17 year old tried to commit suicide in the same way, but he was saved. In addition to that two people were wounded in Meknassy during clashes.
Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, the leader of the opposition party Parti Progressiste Démocrate, said in an interview with French TV Channel TF1 that according to him the death toll of Saturday's clashes with the army in Thala and Kasserine was 26. The goverment so far has admitted a number of 14 dead. Several sources reported that president Ben Ali has fired the chief of staff of the army, general Ammar, because he refused to open fire on protesters. He has been replaced by the director of intelligence, according to the sources.
The French TV channel TV5 this morning hosted the Tunisian ambassador to Unesco, Mezri Haddad, who gave a good show of the hypocrisie of Tunsian government offcials. Haddad did not react to the casualty figures his interviewer presented him with (14 mentioned by the government, 20 by other sources) but blamed the unrest on external and internal factors. Exteral reasons were the world economic crisis, internal factors the fact that Tunisia delivered too many highly skilled people, for whom under the circumstances were not enough jobs available. He called the demonstrations 'understandable and spontaneous', but said that they very quickly had been misused by extremist from left and right, the right being 'islamists'. There were 'no ordinary people in the streets', he said. And he added that the: 'The islamists will not get a chance in Tunisia' ('L'islamisme ne passera en Tunisie'). As evidence for the mingling of islamists he refered to an unnamed person in Geneva who would have published a call on Facebook to the Tunisians to put 'their belts on', as well as the attack on a synagogue in Djerba which took place eight years ago, in 2002. During the interview Haddad conveyed his 'sincere condolences' to the families of two young French people who have been killed by islamists in Niger. He, however, failed to mention the families of the victims in Tunisia.
Demonstration at the Lycée pilote Bourguiba on Friday 8 January.
(Will be updated)