Tunisian army seals off Bardo square after protests
RED SQUARE: A man lights a flare outside the Constituent Assembly headquarters in Bardo square in Tunis, during a protest to demand the ouster of Tunisia’s Islamist-dominated government, on Sunday. TUNIS — The Tunisian army blocked off a square where rival protesters had confronted each other in Tunis on Monday, declaring it a "closed military zone" to try to stave off rising unrest. Tension has been growing over opposition efforts to oust the Islamist-led government following last week’s assassination of a leftist politician, the second such killing in six months.
The army intervened to protect the offices and police fired tear gas, but residents said thousands of demonstrators were still gathering in the southern city, the cradle of the revolt that overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. "Now many of the protesters are coming in carrying batons and it looks like the situation is going to escalate because both sides are standing firm," one resident, Mahdi al-Hurshani, told Reuters by telephone.
Tunisians fear they may be plunging into one of the worst crises in their political transition since Mr Ben Ali was forced to flee by an uprising that inspired unrest across the Arab world. Opposition leaders say they might set up a rival "salvation government", an idea they will discuss later on Monday.
The secular opposition, emboldened by the Egyptian army’s ousting of an Islamist president this month, is now rejecting all concessions and reconciliation efforts by the government. The unrest has erupted just weeks before the transitional Constituent Assembly was set to complete a draft of a new constitution.
Seventy legislators have left it and set up a sit-in outside the Assembly offices in Bardo square. Cabinet ministers would have an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the political crisis, an official said, and a message from the prime minister to the nation is expected soon.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Business Day