Two people being held in a police station in a Tunisian provincial town died after the building caught fire, prompting a protest by local people, local witnesses and official media reported.
The incident happened in Sidi Bouzid, the town that was the starting point for a wave of unrest that forced President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country and inspired anti-government protests around the Arab world.
"After a fire broke out at a police station in Sidi Bouzid on Friday afternoon, two young men arrested for charges related to drunkenness were burned to death," Tunisia's official TAP news agency reported.
"An investigation is currently underway to determine the circumstances of this incident," it said.
Local witnesses told Reuters a crowd of several hundred young people, angry about the deaths of the two prisoners, staged a demonstration in front of the police station.
A young unemployed man from Sidi Bouzid, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in December in protest at his treatment by local officials. He later died. His act started a wave of unprecedented protests across the country.
Ben Ali, in power for 23 years, fled to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14 after several weeks of the protests -- over poverty, corruption and political repression -- that also saw violent clashes with police and dozens of people killed.
Public confidence in the police has been at a low since the protests, with many Tunisians blaming police officers for killing protesters and associating them with the ousted president.
ReutersLast Mod: 05 Şubat 2011, 11:51