Protests return to Tunisia with Sidi Bouzid street rallies; six wounded


A person caped in the Tunisian flag walks past a statue representing the cart of Mohamed Al Bouazizi, the fruit vendor whose self-immolation sparked the revolution that ousted a dictator and ignited the Arab Spring, on Dec. 17, 2011 in Sidi Bouzid. Thousands of Tunisians rallied in celebration of the first anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled their long-standing dictator and unleashed the Arab Spring revolutions.


Fethi Belaid

Street protests broke out in Tunisia's Sidi Bouzid today, the epicenter of last year's historic revolution, prompting authorities to fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse an angry crowd of several hundred, reported Reuters

The self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid last year triggered a historic movement that resulted in the ousting of the country's longtime leader and created a chain reaction of political uprisings throughout the region. 

Medical officials said six people were wounded by the police crackdown on today's rally in the central Tunisian city, according to Reuters

More from GlobalPost: Syria: Battle for Aleppo (LIVE BLOG)

Hundreds of people demonstrated for better economic conditions, political reforms and more jobs, and against the city governor, said Reuters, citing participants chanting, "Where are Sidi Bouzid's rights, where are the martyrs' rights?"

Agence-France Press said the event drew a diverse group of left-leaning collectives, political opposition groups, non-governmental organizations and feminists. 

Some protesters reportedly broke into local offices of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda and ransacked them, according to AFP. Critics accuse the party of curtailing basic rights, particularly freedom of expression.

Today's protest follows a series of labor strikes throughout the nation, unrest recently denounced by Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi as threatening the country's fragile unity. 

"At the level of the media, the political parties and currents have begun stirring things up against each other using a language that would suggest we are at war," Ghannouchi said, according to AFP