Tunisia arrests 11 after clashes in birthplace of Arab Spring

A Tunisian child waves atop a monument on Bouazizi street on August 15, 2019 in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, which nine years ago saw the start of the Arab Spring movements that brought down multiple autocrats in the Arab world (AFP/ File Photo).
Updated 03 December 2019

Tunisia arrests 11 after clashes in birthplace of Arab Spring

  • “Youths aged between 11 and 18 attacked law enforcement officers during the night, throwing stones at them and wounding 20 officers,” spokesman Hayouni said
  • Security forces dispersed the youths with tear gas

TUNIS: Eleven Tunisians were arrested during a night of clashes between protesters and police in the central region of Sidi Bouzid, the interior ministry said Tuesday, after the self-immolation of a young man sparked outrage.
Clashes in Jelma started after the death last Friday of a 25-year-old who set himself on fire in the center of the impoverished town in desperation over his economic woes.
Angry residents blocked roads and attacked police on Saturday and Sunday nights, interior ministry spokesman Khaled Hayouni told AFP.
“Youths aged between 11 and 18 attacked law enforcement officers during the night, throwing stones at them and wounding 20 officers,” Hayouni said. Security forces dispersed the youths with tear gas.
Elsewhere in the region, several hundred people burned tires and blocked roads, an AFP correspondent said.
On Tuesday, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights expressed “deep concern at the state of social tension in Jelma.”
This showed the failure of successive governments to devise concrete solutions to unemployment and lack of development in Tunisia’s interior, the NGO said.
“Ignoring social demands” and reliance on security forces to respond was increasing tension, it warned, calling for a “radical change in economic and social policies.”
In December 2010, the self-immolation of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.
Since then, the marginalized region has experienced further periods of unrest fueled by unemployment and poverty.
During the last major wave of protests in January 2016, anger at the death of an unemployed man in Kasserine spread across the country and led to a curfew being imposed for several days.


Turkey hints it could bar US from using key air bases

Updated 27 min 2 sec ago

Turkey hints it could bar US from using key air bases

  • ‘In the event of a decision to sanction Turkey, the Incirlik and Kurecik air bases can be brought to the agenda’
  • Incirlik air base in southern Turkey has been a main base for US operations in the Middle East

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey’s foreign minister suggested Wednesday that the United States could be barred from using two strategic air bases in retaliation to possible US sanctions against his country, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Mevlut Cavusoglu comments came amid reports that US lawmakers had agreed on a defense bill that also includes calls to sanction Turkey over its decision to proceed with the purchase and deployment of Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.
“In the event of a decision to sanction Turkey, the Incirlik and Kurecik air bases can be brought to the agenda,” Anadolu quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
He said: “Congress members must understand that it is not possible to get anywhere with sanctions.”
Incirlik air base in southern Turkey has been a main base for US operations in the Middle East and more recently in the fight against the Daesh group in Syria and Iraq, while Kurecik, in eastern Turkey, is a key NATO base.
Turkey’s decision to proceed with the purchase of the Russian system has added to growing tensions between the two NATO allies. Washington says the Russian system poses a threat to NATO and has removed Turkey from the US-led F-35 stealth fighter jet program.
Tensions were raised further after Turkey launched an incursion into northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish forces that had partnered with the US in the fight against the Daesh group. Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.