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3 Dead as Riots Continue in Tunisia

Three are dead as violence continues in Tunisia, with protesters demanding the ouster of the government that replaced their deposed president.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 2/27/2011, 9:38 AM / Last Update: 2/27/2011, 10:04 AM

Three people people were killed Saturday in violent rioting that has continued in Tunis, six weeks after a grassroots uprising toppled the 23 year-long regime of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali on January 13, forcing him to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Nine others were injured and more than 100 arrested in the melee, according to a statement by the Tunisian Interior Ministry, quoted by state-run Tunis Afrique Press (TAP).

The violence followed a similar scene that took place in the Tunisian capital Friday night. The news agency reported that 21 police officers were injured in the riots. The ministry said infiltrators among peaceful protesters committed “acts of disturbance, burning and looting.” A cylinder of liquified petroleum gas exploded in front of a building along Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the city's center, TAP reported.

Protesters are continuing their attempts to topple the interim government, which replaced the regime of former President Ben Ali. They also demanded that the parliament disband and the constitution be suspended so that a new one can be written, by an elected assembly. 

One week ago, hundreds of Islamist protesters screamed “Death to the Jews!” as they marched down the main street of Tunis. The demonstration followed a Friday rally in front of the main synagogue in the country in which protesters threatened to bring back “the army of Mohammed” to slaughter the Jews. 

Tunisian women, performing artists and others concerned about civil rights in the country have expressed concern that the riots may lead to an Islamist takeover of the government, thus ending the country's equal rights for women.