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Tunisian police killed man in first death of protests, activists say

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A Tunisian man died in hospital on Wednesday from injuries inflicted by police, activists said, in what would be the first death from protests against President Kais Saied's assumption of extra powers.

Local radio station Mosaique FM said the public prosecutor was investigating the death after police deployed water cannons and batons against protesters on Friday.

But there was no immediate comment from authorities.

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Saied is facing growing discontent over his suspension of parliament last July and subsequent rule by decree.

“Ridha Bouziane, who took part in the January 14 protest died in a hospital in the capital after suffering serious injuries as a result of the excessive violence by police in the demonstration,” the Citizens Against the Coup coalition said.

Samir Dilou and Samir Ben Amor, lawyers for arrested protesters, also said Bouziane died due to police violence, though no more specifics were given.

Saied has said he will uphold all freedoms during a transitional period to a new constitution later this year.

Friday's protest defied a COVID-19 ban on gatherings.

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