Published On: Sun, May 19th, 2013

Teargas and shots in air as Tunisian police clash with hundreds of Salafi protesters

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Tunisian Police Special Unit agents with dogs patrol in a street that leads to Okba Ibn Nafaa mosque in the central Tunisian city of Kairouan on May 19, 2013 (AFP Photo / Fethi Belaid)

Tunisian Police Special Unit agents with dogs patrol in a street that leads to Okba Ibn Nafaa mosque in the central Tunisian city of Kairouan on May 19, 2013 (AFP Photo / Fethi Belaid)

Tunisian police have fired teargas and shots into the air to disperse radical Islamists protesters who gathered in Tunis to support the hardline Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, despite the rally being banned.

Violence broke out in the central city of Kairouan and in the capital, Tunis.

Clashes in the Tunis suburb of Ettadhamen erupted between nearly 500 supporters of Ansar al-Sharia and law enforcements as protesters started throwing stones.

The Salafis were chanting, “The rule of the tyrant should fall,” according to Reuters.

Teargas was also reportedly used in Kairouan, as Salafis threw stones at the police from behind the wall of a mosque.

Group’s spokesman Seifeddine Rais, the group’s spokesman, was arrested at dawn on Sunday as he went jogging in front of police, according to a police source, who described his behavior as a “provocation,” Al Jazeera reported.

The annual rally was expected to have drawn up more than 40,000 people to attend this year’s annual congress.

The recent protest that turned violent comes two days after the government banned the Islamist group from holding its annual congress in the central city of Kairouan.

On Friday the government ruled the group had “shown disdain for state institutions” and was “a threat to public security”.

“The congress is postponed to another date undecided yet,” Habib Al-Lawz, a leader from the ruling Ennahda party, told a local Radio station on Saturday.

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Source: Russia Today

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