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Tunisian police fire tear gas at anti-government protesters

Published: Updated:

Tunisian police fired tear gas on Monday to disperse stone-throwing protesters in Sidi Bouzid demanding the resignation of the Islamist-led government, an AFP correspondent reported.

The demonstrators gathered outside the governor’s office in the center-west city, cradle of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled the regime of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and home town of an anti-Islamist MP assassinated last week.

The protest is the latest in a wave of unrest that has gripped Tunisia since the murder on Thursday of Mohamed Brahmi, the second opposition figure gunned down in Tunisia since February.

Hundreds of demonstrators blocked employees from entering the building and called for the departure of the governor, who is close to the Islamist ruling party Ennahda.

Some then started hurling stones, prompting police to fire tear gas to disperse them.

The demonstrators began gathering outside the governor’s office from 0600 GMT chanting slogans against Ennahda.

The unrest comes as government ministers gathered in Tunis for emergency talks, and as protesters demanding the resignation of the cabinet and the dissolution of parliament dug in outside the National Constituent Assembly.

Brahmi’s murder, following the similar assassination in February of anti-Islamist politician Chokri Belaid, has stoked tensions in Tunisia where many blame the government for the two killings.

Government detractors say the Ennahda-led cabinet has failed to rein in radical Islamists who have grown in influence and stand accused of a wave of attacks since the 2011 uprising.