Deaths in Tunisia clashes

Three people dead after clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Tunis, in second day of unrest in capital.

    Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets on Friday demanding the resignation of Tunisia's interim PM

    Three people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Tunis, the interior ministry said  after a second day of unrest in the Tunisian capital.

    "Three people died from the dozen who were wounded during clashes and were transferred to hospital for treatment," it said in a statement on Saturday.

    "Several members of the security forces were wounded to different degrees."

    Security forces had fired warning shots and tear gas at the anti-government demonstration, and protesters responded by hurling stones, journalists from the AFP news agency said.

    An interior ministry official, who declined to be named, told the Reuters news agency that the deaths had occurred after a riot orchestrated by loyalists of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the ousted president.

    "Those who were arrested have admitted they were pushed by former Ben Ali officials," he said. "Others said they were paid to do it."

    On Friday, tens of thousands of protesters had taken to the streets demanding the resignation of Mohamed Ghannouchi, the country's interim prime minister, who was part of the regime of Ben Ali, who fled the country on January 14.

    The interior ministry statement said more than 100 people were arrested on Saturday and 88 people had been arrested on Friday.

    It blamed the clashes on "agitators" who it said had infiltrated the peaceful demonstrations.

    They had used students "as human shields to carry out violent acts, fires aimed at sowing terror among the people and targeting the internal security forces," the statement said.

    Ghannouchi announced on Friday that the government will hold elections by mid-July.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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