Conflict & Justice

Tunisia: 14-year-old boy killed at protest

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A car is set on fire on July 18, 2011 in Sidi Bouzid. A 14-year-old boy was killed on July 17 by a ricocheting bullet when police opened fire to break up a protest in Sidi Bouzid, the town where Tunisia's uprising erupted in December.

Credit:

STR

A 14-year-old boy was shot and killed after security forces used gunfire to disperse a protest in central Tunisia on Sunday, reported the official TAP news agency.

The young boy was killed after a stray bullet ricocheted off a building, according to reports.  

Two others were reportedly injured in the clashes.  Protesters threw rocks and molotov cocktails at security forces and blocked roads with burning tires, according to TAP.

The demonstrations on Sunday broke out in Sidi Bouzid, a small agricultural city which is better known as the birthplace for Tunisia's recent revolution.

Widespread protests erupted in Sidi Bouzid in December following the self-immolation death of Mohamed Bouazizi. The anger eventually spread throughout the country, ultimately forcing the departure of former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14.

But Tunisia's road to democracy since the ouster of Ben Ali has been a bumpy one.

(GlobalPost in Sidi Bouzid: The making of a martyr: truth or legend?)

Last week, police forces used tear gas to disperse crowds of hundreds of anti-government protesters in the capital, Tunis.

6 policemen were wounded on Saturday when "extremists" torched multiple security buildings, reported Bloomberg, citing Tunisia's interior ministry.

Street protests have reportedly become more widespread in recent days, as more Tunisians demand swifter justice in the cases of policemen accused of killing demonstrators during the country's uprising. Read more of GlobalPost's coverage of the recent unrest here.

Tunisia's caretaker government, which changed hands several times since Ben Ali's departure, blamed Sunday's violence on groups who were deliberately seeking to derail the upcoming national elections.

"There were disturbances aimed at preventing elections," said Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia's Prime Minister, in an address to the nation.

Tunisians head to the polls on October 23 to elect a constituent assembly that will eventually write the country's new constitution.