Post-election violence breaks out in Tunisia

Story highlights

  • Violence occurs in the same town that ignited the uprising
  • The unrest occurred after an independent commission disqualified some candidates
Violence broke out Thursday night in the central Tunisian city and province of Sidi Bouzid over election disqualifications.
A number of candidates who had been declared victorious in this week's elections for membership in the 217-seat Constituent Assembly were disqualified in six provinces, witnesses and the country's state-run news agency said.
Supporters of the People's Petition protested in front of the mayor's building in the city of Sidi Bouzid, which is where the Tunisian uprising began last December when a 26-year-old fruit vendor set himself afire after a police officer seized his goods.
The Popular Petition supporters also attacked an office of the Ennahda Movement, the once-banned moderate Islamist party that was the big winner of Sunday's elections, with 90 seats. Streets were barricaded with trash bins, rocks and tires that had been set afire.
An independent commission disqualified some candidates for seats that had been won by the People's Petition, which is led by Hachemi Hamdi, who owns a satellite television station based in London on which he gave lengthy talks prior to the election.
The commission cited funding issues, but did not specify what they were. Under Tunisian electoral law, parties are not allowed to receive funding from abroad or from private companies.
Upon receiving the news, Hamdi appeared on national media and asked the 19 other People's Petition members who had made it to the Constituent Assembly to withdraw.