Tunisian police fired tear gas and used electric batons to disperse a rally of thousands in the country’s capital today, leaving dozens injured in unrest that spotlighted persisting tensions in the Arab Spring’s birthplace.
Thousands gathered in an attempt to march on Tunis’s central Bourguiba Avenue for a Martyrs Day event honoring those killed by French troops in 1938. Tunisia’s Interior Ministry last month banned demonstrations on the thoroughfare amid complaints by businesses that they were a disruption. Dozens were wounded or suffered respiratory problems from the tear gas. The government has not issued a statement about the events.
“The Interior Ministry is carrying on the same repressive policies that we lived under during the former regime” of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, said Tarek Asoudi, 35, in an interview at the protest.
The march reflects the challenges for Tunisia’s new Islamist-led government, after an uprising last year that triggered a wave of similar revolts in the Arab world.
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