Tunisia Turns to Troops to Trounce Tussling Throngs
Days of raucous protests and growing unrest caused the Tunisian government on Monday to deploy military units to a number of cities, in an effort to quell the increasingly violent demonstrations spreading across the state over a stagnant economy. Tunis’ defense ministry claimed the situation was brought under control by soldiers who were tasked with protecting public buildings and “seats of sovereignty.” Some 1,000 people were arrested, security forces said, fueling even more protests demanding their release. Amnesty International called on authorities to “immediately refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force” to disperse demonstrators. Marking the 10th anniversary of the uprising that ousted former strongman President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and launched the Arab Spring, Tunisia, long touted as the global movement’s lone success story, has failed to live up to its promise. Despite several democratic elections, citizens decry the prevalence of corrupt institutions, soaring unemployment numbers and over 20% poverty nationwide.