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article imageDeadly riots in Tunisia lead to police abuse allegations, 10 dead

By Andrew Moran     Jan 13, 2011 in World
Tunis - The people of Tunisia are fed up with their government. Unemployment continues to rise and the cost of food increases. Protestors took to the streets to vent their frustration, but the riots have turned deadly.
For more than two days now, protestors, including members of the General Tunisian Labour Union that have organized protests throughout the country for the past several weeks, chanted anti-government slogans in the capital Tunis.
Despite the Tunisian government’s attempt to control dissent by now enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew and deploying the military, the civil unrest has taken over the people of Tunisia and have become enraged with rising unemployment and food price hikes.
According to Al Jazeera, at least 10 people have been reportedly killed in the past two days during clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The total tally is at 21 since December. This week’s deaths took place in Douz, Kairouan, Bizerte, Sidi Bouzid and Tunis.
Monsters and Critics reports that an American journalist was injured when police snipers were placed on a roof and fired at protestors, which also led to the death of one man. Another journalist was injured when he covered a demonstration near the state radio building.
“People are shocked, they are standing watching buses on fire,” one person told Al Jazeera. “People are going home to lock their doors, they are very scared … everybody has stopped working.”
Prior to the curfew (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.), government buildings, banks, supermarkets and vehicles were plundered and set on fire over the course of the evening. The curfew has been implemented indefinitely.
The Tunisian government has held emergency sessions. On Thursday, the Parliament’s lower house held a meeting to investigate the protests. The upper house is scheduled to also hold an emergency gathering later Thursday.
The United States and the European Union have voiced their concern over President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the government’s “disproportionate” use of force, reports the Irish Times.
“This violence is unacceptable. The perpetrators must be identified and brought before the courts,” said a spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. “And we cannot accept the disproportionate use of force by the police against peaceful demonstrators.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations is calling for a probe into the alleged police killings of civilians and accusations of human rights abuses and torture. This has led to protests in Berlin and Paris where activists are calling on the EU to take action against police violence.
Tunisia’s recent instability has led to the Tunindex to decline by 4.1 percent and has dropped by 13 percent during the past four days, reports Bloomberg News.
For more than two days now, protestors, including members of the General Tunisian Labour Union that have organized protests throughout the country for the past several weeks, chanted anti-government slogans in the capital Tunis.
Despite the Tunisian government’s attempt to control dissent by now enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew and deploying the military, the civil unrest has taken over the people of Tunisia and have become enraged with rising unemployment and food price hikes.
According to Al Jazeera, at least 10 people have been reportedly killed in the past two days during clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The total tally is at 21 since December. This week’s deaths took place in Douz, Kairouan, Bizerte, Sidi Bouzid and Tunis.
Update: The Tunisian President has ordered security forces to cease using weapons against protestors. Furthermore, Ali has pledged to slash food prices and permit more media and personal freedoms.
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