Sunday, January 9, 2011

At least 14, but maybe as many as 20, people killed during clashes in Tunisia on Saturday

 One of the victims is carried away

At least 14 and possibly 20 people have been killed in clashes with police in cities in Tunisia, Al- Jazeera reported on Sunday. Six people were killed and another six wounded in the city of Tala, 200km southwest of the capital Tunis, on Saturday, after security forces opened fire on protestors.
The site Nawaat earlier put the death toll at 11. It gave the name sof the people killed in the province of Kasserine as follows. In the city Ennour: Salah Fridhi, Mounir Mbarki, and Mohamed Lassoudi. in the the city Ezzouhour: three killed, one of whom was Salah Boughanomi. In Thala there wer three: Marouane Mbaki, Ahmed Boulaabi, and Faouzi Boulaabi. On Twitte it was reported that hopital sources in Kasserine put the nuber of deaths at 20.

During clashes in Kasserine itself on Sutarday night, a 12-year-old child was killed when he was shot in the head. 

There had already been unrest in Tala on Friday, with protesters attacking a bank and official buildings, setting them on fire, union leader Sadok Mahmoudi told AFP. Troops were deployed there on Friday to protect public buildings, said Mahmoudi. It was the first time they had been used since the start of the recent wave of unrest, Mahmoudi added.
Furhtermor: In Sidi Bouzid a father of four tried to commit suicide by puttingf fire to himself. He was saved. In Ariana a 17-yaer old boy put fire to himslf. He died. Before the latest shootings a total of five people had died since unrest began, two from gunshot wounds and three by suicide, according to an AFP toll.
The protests are driven by high unemployment, particularly among well-qualified graduates, and high prices of raw materials including food, mirroring similar unrest in Algeria. The government has put the death toll after the Tala riots at two, Tunisia 7, the offcial tv-channel reported. It was the first time the offcial media repofrted about clashes.
 Body of dead man in a street.

Also the newspaper As Sabah, owned by the son in law of president Ben Ali, Sakher Materi, indirectely reacted to the disturbances. It did so by quoting a poem by the 6th century Arab poet Amr Ibn Khalthoum, as a kind of bombastic answer to the concern that the American State Department on Frriday expressed by calling in the Tunisian ambassador. The poem reads as follows, giving a rare insight in what Ben Ali and family may think about the present unrest:
'Our brave boys kill when they seek the glory/ Our elders have gathered much experience in the battle/We expect obedience when we rule/And we are resolute about who doesn't obey/When we go to the sources we drink pure, clean water/And we leave mud and dirt to drink for our enemy.'
It sounds grim enough. But at the same time seems to indicate that the palace Tunis might be getting nervous.

Other news is that clashes are going on in several places, among them in Ariana, La Marsa, Ben Arous and Bizerte. The rapper El General has been set free. The French TV-station TV5 opened its emission of 18.00  o'clock with an interview  by telephone with Ahmad Najib Chebbi, leader of the Progressive Democratic  Party (Parti Democrate Progressiste, PPD) one three genuine opposition parties in Tunis ia (which have no representation in parliament. He accused the government to have caused bloodbath and said that he made an appeal to president Ben Ali to stop the massacre, disband his government and form a goverment of national unity. As the cause of the unrest he pointed at the dictatorial ruling by one man.

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