Tunisia: Salafis attack cities, 86 arrested

Police stations looted, union and party HQs set on fire

12 June, 14:10

Salafists protest in Tunis Salafists protest in Tunis

(ANSAmed) - TUNIS - Salafis have gone on the rampage in many Tunisian cities, with the destruction of property and the setting on fire of police stations, party and union headquarters and even a lorry transporting alcoholic beverages. The rioting started over the night in Tunis and then spread to many other cities in the country (such as Sousse and Jendouba), which saw extremely violent episodes fostered by hundreds of Salafis. In some situations the police were forced to shoot into the air in the attempt to quell the rioting, such as in the Ettahir municipality, where in this way they managed to prevent a group of policemen from being attacked by hundreds of Salafis armed with clubs and stones. The extremists' protest began in the northern outskirts of the capital and especially in Marsa, where the gallery of art is located which - through its exhibition of works held to be immoral by Salafis - sparked their reaction. From Marsa the rioting spread to the southern suburbs to the edges of Carthage, where the presidential palace is located, under military guard the entire night.

In Sousse this morning, the Salafis used incendiary bombs to attack the main building of the Fine Arts Institute, and it was by pure chance that the staff already at work managed to escape the flames. In Jendouba a number of headquarters of non-religious parties were set aflame, as was the headquarters of a union, the Regional Labour Union. The police station was laid to waste, as were a number of shops selling electronic devices. According to the initial statements from the Interior Ministry reported by Reuters, 86 people have been arrested so far. (ANSAmed).

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