Four people have died in fresh clashes in the Tunisian capital between stone-throwing protesters and police on the sidelines of demonstrations against the interim government, officials said today.
The Interior Ministry, in a statement, blamed “provocateurs” for fomenting violence in otherwise peaceful rallies in Tunis and for allegedly using young people as human shields in renewed demonstrations.
The ministry said three people died today, but did not elaborate.
State TV showed a funeral of a 19-year-old man who was killed yesterday when he was shot through the neck during protests on a central avenue.
Demonstrators fear the interim government has hijacked the revolution which drove President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power on January 14, sending shockwaves through the Arab world.
Officials said nearly 200 people had been arrested in the last two days.
Today, police and troops backed by tanks used tear gas to disperse hundreds of youths protesting against the caretaker government. Officers were seen chasing some youths through town after the rally ended.
Authorities then ordered a temporary ban on vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the capital’s central Bourguiba Avenue until midnight tomorrow – the first of its kind since Mr Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia.
Yesterday, police fired tear gas and warning shots as violence erupted alongside a sit-in which drew tens of thousands of protesters near the seat of the interim government.
Many Tunisians remain angry at the interim government led by Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, a long-time Ben Ali lieutenant who has pledged to guide the country until elections can be held this summer.