Tunisia clashes spread

KASSERINE: Clashes between Tunisian protesters and security forces spread from a western city of Kasserine overnight, authorities said on Wednesday, as anger grew over the death of a journalist who set himself on fire over economic conditions. In Kasserine, police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths in a second night of unrest. Clashes also broke out in the eastern town of Jbeniana, where a policeman was injured, and in Tebourba in the north where at least five people were arrested, national security spokesman Walid Hkima said.
The unrest follows the death of 32-year-old journalist Abderrazk Zorgui on Monday after setting himself ablaze in Kasserine. The interior ministry said one person had been arrested for alleged involvement in the desperate act of protest, which triggered an outpouring of anger in the city with protesters setting tyres on fire and blocking roads. It was the self-immolation of a street vendor in Tunisia in late 2010 in protest at police harassment that sparked Tunisia’s revolution. Despite the country’s democratic transition since then, authorities are still struggling to improve poor living conditions in the face of rampant inflation and unemployment.
“There’s a rupture between the political class and young people especially those living in insecurity in Tunisia’s interior who see their future as uncertain,” said the president of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, Messaoud Romdhani.
He expects the protest movement to spread to other regions because of “the lack of a real political will to address the real problems of Tunisians”. — AFP