Riots in Tunisia Dispersed by Tear Gas
Protests by workers demanding pay turned violent in Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Tunisian revolution, as demonstrators sacked the local Ennahda party office and attempted to torch the building as well as the provincial government headquarters. Police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the crowd, of which only around a dozen of the hundreds gathered reportedly took part in rioting.
Additionally, in a controversial move, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly narrowly approved the appointment of Chedly Ayari to head Tunisia’s National Bank by a vote of 97 to 89. Ayari, who was nominated by President Marzouki with the approval of Prime Minister Jebali, briefly served on the National Board of Advisors under ex-President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and is a former member of Ben Ali’s RCD party. The 79-year-old also served as a minister under President Habib Bourguiba. Many activists and politicians strongly objected to his appointment, including some MPs who repeatedly interrupted Ayari’s acceptance speech in which he downplayed his past to focus on a vision of increased cooperation between the government and the bank.
Meanwhile in Libya, the group Lawyers for Justice in Libya condemned recent attacks on Tawerghans and called for an investigation to hold those responsible accountable. “The Tawerghans living in the camps have been subject to regular raids and have been the target of systematic episodes of violence,” the group’s statement read. Many accuse Tawerghans of having supported Gaddafi forces during the revolution, and Mistratan forces largely cleared the city of Tawergha, leaving 35,000 people displaced.