Hundreds protest in Tunisia against terrorism
More than a thousand protesters in Jendouba condemned the killing of four people by suspected Islamist militants
More than a thousand protesters gathered on Monday in the Tunisian town of Jendouba to condemn the weekend killings of four people by suspected Islamist militants, Agence France-Presse reported.
“Tunisia is free, terrorism out,” and “Faithful to our martyrs,” were among the slogans chanted by the protesters outside the governor’s office in the town in northwestern Tunisia, before marching down the main street, an AFP journalist reported.
On Sunday, Islamist militants disguised as security officials killed three Tunisian policemen and a civilian in an attack near the border with Algeria, the state news agency TAP said.
Interior Ministry’s Spokesman Mohamed Ali Laroui said the group involved in the attack was made up of five individuals including three Tunisians and two Algerians.
Tunisia’s security forces have been battling militants from the banned Islamist movement Ansar al-Sharia, whose leader has declared allegiance to al-Qaeda’s North Africa wing.
The protesters expressed their support for the security forces, stopping before two police posts, chanting the national anthem and shouting “we are with you.”
The government has also said Ansar al-Sharia was behind the separate assassinations last year of two secular politicians, killings that plunged Tunisia into political turmoil, but the group never claimed responsibility for those or any other attacks.
For more than a year, the security forces have been battling Islamist militants hiding out in the remote border regions of western Tunisia, notably in the Chaambi mountains.
Ansar al-Sharia was one of the most hardline Islamist groups to emerge after Tunisia’s 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, whose government often jailed Islamist leaders.
One of the Arab world’s most secular countries, Tunisia has progressed in its transition to democracy after the revolt, with a new constitution praised for its modernity and elections scheduled for this year.
(With AFP and Reuters)
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