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A year of Salafist unrest in Tunisia

Timeline of a year-long of social tensions caused by the Salafists in Tunisia

AFP , Tuesday 12 Jun 2012
Riot police chase after protesters in the Tunisian capital Tunis June 12, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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As Tunisia was on edge on Tuesday after a spate of what the government called "terrorist" attacks, here is an account of attacks linked to the ultra-conservative Muslim Salafists over the past year.
The Salafists have denied involvement in the rampage in several areas of the capital Tunis and in the country's northwest.

- June 26: Around 50 members of the Salafist movement storm a cinema in a bid to stop the screening of the film "Neither Allah, nor Master" on secularism in Tunisia. Six are arrested. Two days later, demanding the six men be released, Salafist demonstrators attack three lawyers who have to be taken to hospital.

- October 9: Tunisian police break up a mob of angry Salafists intent on attacking TV network Nessma TV that aired a film on the Iranian revolution "Persepolis", an award-winning animation film they say is offensive to Islam.

- November 28: Salafists start to disrupt classes at a university in Tunis, demanding a stop to mixed-sex classes and full face veils for female students.

- March 26: Tunisia's moderate Islamist leaders, who took power following last year's ouster of strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after a popular uprising, decline to adopt sharia law in the new constitution.
On March 25, at least 8,000 Islamists stage a mass demonstration in central Tunis to demand the adoption of Islamic law in Tunisia.

- May 21: Justice Minister Noureddine Bhiri threatens to punish Salafists who push their views on others too hard, after radical Islamists force a series of bars to close.

- June 10: Al-Qaeda's chief Ayman al-Zawahiri urges Tunisians to rise up to demand the rule of Islamic law.

- June 11: Protesters suspected to be Salafists damage several works of art at an exhibition, in what appears to have been the latest in a series of attacks by Islamic religious hardliners on liberal or secular targets.

- June 12: The government condemns as "terrorism" a spate of overnight attacks on courts and other state buildings by gangs including Islamist hardliners. Salafists deny involvement.

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