20 wounded in clashes with police in poor Tunisian town

AFP , Wednesday 28 Nov 2012

Hospitals receive more than 20 people injured from clashes against security forces in a the southwestern town of Siliana, revealing public anger against socio-economic failures of the Islamist-led government in Tunisia

Tunisian protesters run away during clashes with riot police in downtown in Tunis, 26 February 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

More than 20 people were wounded on Wednesday in a second day of clashes between Tunisian security forces and thousands of protesters in the poor southwestern town of Siliana, a medic told AFP.

"The emergency services at the Siliana regional hospital have so far received 20 people wounded by a kind of ammunition that we haven't been able to identify," the medic said, adding that others wounded in the clashes were on their way to the hospital.

He said no serious injuries had been reported.

Several thousand protesters gathered at 0900 GMT in front of the prefecture in Siliana demanding the departure of the regional governor, trade union official Nejib Sebti told AFP.

The security forces then began firing warning shots and tear gas, before using a "strange" type of shot to disperse the crowd, he said. Similar clashes had taken place on Tuesday.

"The people of Siliana most affected by poverty will never go down on their knees," Sebti said, warning that they were "ready to die for their rights."

The interior ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

The protesters are demanding the liberation of 14 people detained during violent unrest in April 2011 and funds to boost economic development in the impoverished region, as well as the governor's resignation.

Much of Tunisia's interior suffers from a chronic lack of development, and has seen growing social unrest in recent months, including protests that often turn violent, amid rising discontent over the Islamist-led government's failure to improve living standards.

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