TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Clashes between police and protesters in a Tunisian mining town killed two people Friday and injured 20, in a new outburst of violence in a country struggling for stability after a revolution that rocked the Arab world.
The deadly protest came as a member of the deposed president’s much-hated family was sentenced to prison on Friday, amid efforts by Tunisia’s interim authorities to further distance themselves from the former regime.
Weeks of deadly protests drove out President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January. Violence has largely subsided, but discontent remains.
The Interior Ministry said police fired tear gas and demonstrators threw stones and gasoline bombs at the protest in the town of Metlaoui in central Tunisia.
The ministry said on its Facebook page two people were killed and 20 injured. It said they were shot from hunting rifles, not police weapons, but did not elaborate.
State news agency TAP reported that the protests started after rumors emerged that the regional phosphate mining company, CPG, was secretly recruiting in a specific tribal area instead of opening its jobs to the entire local population. Local authorities insisted the rumors were unfounded, but about 1,000 people still turned out to protest.