Tunisian police disperse Islamist protesters
Salafist demonstrators demanded the release of 16 men from the town’s mosque who were arrested Monday
Calm has returned to the Rouhia region in Tunisia after police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators protesting against the arrest of a group of Islamic hardliners, the local el-Badil news website reported on Friday.
Around 100 Salafist Islamists gathered in front of a police station in Rouhia in the northern province of Siliana to demand the release of 16 men from the town’s mosque who were arrested on Monday, a security source said.
Interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told AFP the 16 “radicals” arrested included “three self-declared imams, one of whom had come back from Syria.”
The calm returned after the clashes continued for three days.
Tunisia has seen a rise in jihadist activity since the ouster of long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a 2011 popular uprising, and the government recently vowed to take control of mosques run by radical Islamists.
Demonstrators in Rouhia on Friday chanted “Rouhia needs development, not police,” before security forces dispersed the protest with tear gas.
A 1988 law in the North African country effectively prohibits sermons, meetings or the distribution of literature in mosques by those who have not been approved by the prime minister.
The religious affairs ministry has also decided to set opening hours for mosques for the first time in three years.
Switzerland to give Ben Ali money to TunisiaThe Ben Ali family still has the option of contesting the money’s handover by filing an appeal at the Swiss supreme court Middle East
Tunisia attempts to rescue Darth Vader’s hometownThe set, originally built to film “Star Wars Episode One - The Phantom Menace,” was damaged by shifting sand dunes Entertainment
Tunisia seeks death penalty for rapist policemenThere have been no executions in the North African country, birthplace of the Arab Spring, since the early 1990s Middle East
Tunisia arrests Islamist militants after bomb mishapTunisia’s interior ministry said eight members of Ansar al-Sharia were attempting to plan an attack on the commercial city of Sfax Middle East
Obama praises Tunisia as model of Arab SpringThe U.S. unveiled $500 million in aid to Tunisia as Obama believes that Washington must make a ‘huge investment’ to make it successful Economy