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Tunisian police shoot at demonstrators

©

Latest update : 2008-06-07

At least one Tunisian protester was killed, and several others injured, when police opened fire on a crowd demonstrating against unemployment and high prices on Friday. Tunis reported that several police were also injured by protesters.

A demonstrator was shot and killed and up to 18 others were wounded in Tunisia Friday amid clashes with police over unemployment and high inflation, union and government officials said.
  
Hafnaoui Al-Maghzaoui, 25, was hit in the right lung and died immediately when police opened fire at Redeyef in the country's southwestern Gafsa region, union leader Adnane Hajji told AFP.
  
Eighteen other people were also struck by bullets, he told AFP by telephone from Redeyef.
  
Government officials confirmed the fatality but put the number of wounded at eight including five protesters and three police officers.
  
"Security forces were pelted with incendiary devices and moved to take out a number of people who had made them," a government official in Tunis said.
  
"The police intervened after giving warning," the official said, adding that an inquiry would be opened "to determine the circumstances of the incident and determine culpability."
  
Hajji said police fired bullets "without warning" and indicated that local authorities applied "a curfew which was announced to the population via loudspeakers on Friday."
  
He said police quashed a "peaceful protest" of residents who were making their way to a local police station.
  
Among the demonstrators were local leaders, who were dispersed when police fired tear gas at them while men and women were trampled on, an acting miners union spokesperson said.
  
Since Monday police have clashed with protestors denouncing "unemployment, the cost of living, corruption ... ", Adel Jayar said.
  
They threw stones at security forces who were constantly deployed throughout Redeyef and its environs, he said.
  
In April police stopped a dozen people after similar protests in this city of 30,000 inhabitants, which has borne the brunt of social unrest throughout the larger Gafsa mining region, which is rich in phosphates.
  
Rising food and fuel prices have sparked riots and strikes around the world in recent months.
  
About 50 heads of state and government officials wrapped up a summit on food security in Rome on Thursday, at a time of soaring world prices.

Date created : 2008-06-07

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