Tunisia Islamists march in Sidi Bouzid to back ruling party

AFP , Sunday 7 Oct 2012

Members of Tunisia ruling Islamist party marched in the town of Sidi Bouzid, the birth place of the Arab Spring to support Ennahda party, after an anti-government protest demanded the removal of the regional governor

Hundreds of supporters of Tunisia's ruling Islamist party marched on Saturday in the town of Sidi Bouzid, a day after police dispersed anti-government protesters using tear gas, an AFP journalist reported.

Some 250 people marched through the centre of the town, birthplace of the uprising that toppled former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last year, shouting their support for the Ennahda party and for the regional governor Mohamed Nejib Mansouri.

On Friday, Tunisian police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Sidi Bouzid who were demanding the governor's resignation and who tried to break into the regional government headquarters.

The police evacuated the governor from his office.

Separately, a general strike was observed in Meknassy in the Sidi Bouzid region on Friday, called by Tunisia's main UGTT trade union to protest the absence of development projects.

The Sidi Bouzid region, which is home to around 12,000 jobless graduates, often sees protesters taking to the streets to condemn the Islamist-led government for ignoring their grievances and failing to create jobs.

These have multiplied in recent weeks, amid rising discontent over poor living conditions, regular water cuts and delayed salary payments. There is also anger over the arrest of protesters at recent demonstrations.

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