Gunshots heard in centre of Tunis: witnesses

Gunshots were fired in the centre of the Tunisian capital on Tuesday, people in the area said.

Gunshots heard in centre of Tunis: witnesses

Gunshots were fired in the centre of the Tunisian capital on Tuesday, people in the area said.

Three witnesses told Reuters they heard shooting coming from streets near Avenue Bourguiba, the main thoroughfare in Tunis, but none could see who was responsible.

"I heard sporadic gunfire," one of the witnesses, who was near the Tunis city government building, told Reuters. Security had seemed to be slowly returning to Tunisia three weeks after a wave of protests forced President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in power for 23 years, to flee to Saudi Arabia.

But in the past few days violence has flared up again, with at least five people killed since Friday in clashes between police and protesters in provincial towns.

The gunshots on Tuesday were the first time shooting had been heard in the capital for at least two weeks.

The defence ministry ordered army reservists on Monday to report for duty so they could reinforce overstretched police and soldiers trying to keep order.

Tunisia's uprising against Ben Ali's authoritarian rule inspired protest movements elsewhere in the Arab world, notably in Egypt.

The European Union said it was putting together an assistance package at the request of the Tunisian authorities.

"The aim of that process is to address first of all the short-term needs of the transition process in Tunisia," European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule told reporters on a visit to the Moroccan capital Rabat.

Britain's foreign minister had talks with Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, becoming the most senior Western official to visit since Ben Ali's ouster.

But in a sign that turmoil had spread to the Tunisian leadership, Hague did not meet his opposite number Ahmed Ounaiss because he is embroiled in a dispute over his future.

Workers at the Tunisian Foreign Ministry were on strike for a second day to demand that Ounaiss step down over comments which many Tunisians felt served to show he did not fully support the country's change of ruler.

A source at the ministry, who did not want to be identified, confirmed that Ounaiss did not meet Hague because of internal problems in the ministry.

Agencies

Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2011, 17:11
Add Comment