Entries in Tunis (4)


US Embassy in Tunis Engulfed in Smoke

FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- The U.S. embassy in Tunisia was enveloped in a cloud of black smoke today as police battle thousands of protesters who have gathered to demonstrate at the embassy, as protests by those angry over an American-produced film mocking the Prophet Mohammed raged for a fourth day across the Middle East.

Officials throughout the Muslim world were braced for violent eruptions following Friday prayers, as police and clerics appear to have tried to calm emotions.

In Cairo, protesters took to the streets near the U.S. embassy and more were expected to gather in Tahrir Square following Friday's prayers. Police are lined up on the far side of the square, guarding the road that leads to the U.S. Embassy.

The Muslim Brotherhood had announced that it has canceled their nationwide protests. The group had previously had called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers in front of mosques in all cities across Egypt "in response to the insults to the religious beliefs and the Prophet."

Egyptian Prime Minister Mohammed Morsi went on state TV to denounce the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, during protests about the movie.

Overnight, police in riot gear launched tear gas canisters into the sea of protesters, who were lighting fireworks, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in return.

In Sanaa, Yemen, police fired shots into the air and lobbed a barrage of tear gas at a crowd of protesters who were trying to march to the U.S. embassy. In face of the tough police response, the crowd of protesters dwindled to several hundred people.

Both embassies in Cairo and Sanaa had been the scene of violent demonstrations earlier this week where protesters breached outer walls and ripped apart the U.S. flag.

Protests erupted as well in India and Bangladesh, and in Lebanon demonstrators took out their anger on a KFC and an Arbys, setting fire to the American-based restaurants.

Many angry demonstrators are blaming the U.S. government for the film, The Innocence of Muslims, and they want an apology from President Obama.

A U.S. intelligence bulletin warned Thursday that the violent outrage aimed at U.S. embassies spawned by the movie could be spread to America by extremist groups eager to "exploit anger."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Millions of Tunisians Cast Votes in Tunisia’s Arab Spring Election

Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- History was made Sunday when millions of Tunisians turned up to cast their votes in Tunisia’s first truly free election since its independence in 1956.

In a large step toward democracy, Tunisians voted for an assembly to draft a new constitution.

The election comes 10 months after the vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi, anguished by poverty and repressed by the government, publicly ignited himself in flames, instigating the widespread outcry which spiraled into the Arab Spring mass protests.

The protests forced President Zine al-Abidine to flee Tunisia, and inspired uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tunisia's Interim Prime Minister Resigns Amid Protests

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- The interim prime minister of Tunisia announced his resignation Sunday, as the revolution in that country continues and the world's attention is diverted to events in neighboring Libya.

Mohamed Ghannouchi's resignation follows protracted demonstrations against the transition government -- protests that have seen violence and burning across the country.

Ghannouchi’s decision to step aside highlights the challenges facing every country in the Arab world currently undergoing revolution. The demonstrations across the region were fueled by earlier protests in Tunisia, a country where a framework for the future has yet to be established.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tunisia: Thousands Hit Streets to Protest Unemployment, Corruption

Photo Courtesy - FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- Tunisia has been rocked by protests that have apparently forced longtime leader Zine Al Abedine Ben Ali to step down. There are unconfirmed reports by state media that he has fled the country, and the nation's prime minister said he is now in control.

Rioters took to the streets protesting unemployment and rising food prices. The situation escalated into chaos. Police clashed with rioters, some of whom climbed the walls of the Interior Ministry, reportedly the site of torture for years.

Reading a statement on television, Tunisia's prime minister, Mohammed Ghannouchi, announced he would take over the position of president as Ben Ali "cannot practice his authorities."

The government reports at least 23 people have been killed in the rioting, but opposition members said the death toll could be triple that. On Friday, Air France, one of the main airlines serving the country, said it suspended flights to Tunisia following the closure of its airspace.

The whistleblower Web site WikiLeaks is credited with stirring the anger of the Tunisian people. Users of Facebook and other social networking sites spread comments about U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks which described corruption in Tunisia, and called the country a "police state."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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