4 Killed in Fresh Tunisia Clashes

Published on Thursday 13th January 2011

A human rights group and union leaders in Tunisia say at least four people were killed during new clashes between police and demonstrators.Protesters defied a government-ordered curfew in the capital Tunis, and police fired tear gas at rock-throwing demonstrators angered by high unemployment and food prices.Tunisian officials say 23 people have died from the unrest across the country, while the opposition and rights groups say the death toll is more than 50.Witnesses in Douz, some 550 kilometers south of the capital, said at least three people were killed Wednesday in clashes between police and demonstrators.  Switzerland said Thursday a Swiss woman who also has Tunisian nationality was killed during unrest Wednesday in the country's north.  Sources in France say a French citizen has also been killed. What sparked unrestThe unrest began in December when a 26-year-old university graduate set himself on fire after police confiscated his produce.  Authorities said he was selling without a permit.  The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the government to stop security forces from using excessive  force against protesters.  Navi Pillay also has urged Tunisia to launch a "transparent and credible investigation" into the unrest. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced Wednesday that he had fired and replaced the country's interior minister. The government also announced Wednesday that authorities would release demonstrators who had been arrested earlier in the unrest.

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