BEIRUT

Middle East

Warning shots fired to disperse Tunisia protest: AFP

SIDI BOUZID: Police on Thursday fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse a demonstration in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of last year's revolution, an AFP journalist reported.

One person was wounded by a rubber bullet and four others affected by the tear gas were taken to the town's hospital, an official there said, adding that none of them were in a serious condition.

The security forces began firing into the air when the protesters, who were demanding the resignation of the Islamist-led government, tried to force their way into the provincial government headquarters.

They broke through the entrance to the compound, the journalist said, but when the warning shots and tear gas were fired, the panicked crowd scattered.

A similar incident took place at the end of June, when protesters angry over their living conditions attacked the same building, hurling rocks and burning tyres, with police firing tear gas to disperse them.

Some demonstrators also broke down the door and sacked offices of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda.

Sidi Bouzid is where the uprising began that eventually toppled former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and touched off the Arab Spring, when a street vendor immolated himself in December 2010 in protest over his own precarious livelihood.

 

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