posted on Jan, 10 2011 @ 12:32 AM
At least 14 people were killed in clashes between demonstrators and police over the weekend in western Tunisia, the official TAP news agency said on
Protesting unemployment and other social woes, the demonstrators attacked petrol stations, public buildings and police offices on Saturday in the city
of Thala by throwing Molotov cocktails and stones, it said.
Police officers used weapons in "legitimate defense," to prevent the protestors from entering government buildings. The clashes spread to several
towns on Sunday.
Media reports said the demonstrations and riots were triggered by the death of a 26-year-old university graduate, who set himself on fire on Dec. 17
in the southern city of Sidi Bouzid, after local municipal police confiscated his unlicensed fruit cart.
Officials, however, blamed "a small group of violent extremists" for inciting the protests.
Communications Minister Samir Labidia told al Jazeera television on Sunday that the government is ready for a dialogue with the young people.
"The message has been received," he said. "We are going to review what needs to be reviewed, we are going to correct what needs to be corrected,
but the violence is a red line."
Tunisia is the northmost country in Africa with a population of about 10 million and has been known for domestic stability.
There is no confirmed link between the latest riots in Tunisia and what was going on in neighboring Algeria, which was recently plagued by lethal
unrest over joblessness and food prices.