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Protesters gather in Tunisia's capital after overnight curfew

By the CNN Wire Staff
Tunisian riot police face protestors in Tunis on May 6, 2011 during a youth protest against the transitional government.
Tunisian riot police face protestors in Tunis on May 6, 2011 during a youth protest against the transitional government.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police fire occasional tear gas canisters into the crowd, protesters throw stones
  • Police and military are deployed in Tunis as protesters gather
  • Authorities impose an overnight curfew on Tunis and surrounding areas
  • Protests in Arab nations started in Tunisia after a fruit cart vendor set himself on fire
RELATED TOPICS
  • Tunisia

Tunis, Tunisia (CNN) -- Several hundred protesters were gathered in the center of Tunisia's capital Sunday as riot police stood guard.

Members of the Army and military vehicles were also deployed on the main street outside the country's interior ministry.

After police fired occasional tear gas canisters into the crowd, groups of young protesters fled and then returned. Some younger protesters threw stones at police, but older men gathered among the group urged them to calm down.

On Saturday authorities imposed an overnight curfew in the capital and surrounding areas following a weekend of protests against the interim government and security forces, state media reported.

The latest protests come amid growing concerns among Tunisians that their demands for democratic rule are not being met. Protesters are calling for the continuation of the democratization process, fundamental reforms, and a return to the ideals of the Tunisian revolution.

On Saturday protesters called for the resignation of the interior minister as they chanted, "The people call for a new revolution" and "No fear or terror, power belongs to the people," Agence Tunis Afrique Presse reported.

Authorities said the curfew, which will run nightly from 9 p.m to 5 a.m., will prevent looting and protect citizens, the government said.

Protests in Arab countries started in Tunisia when an unemployed college graduate set himself on fire after police confiscated his fruit cart and cutting off his source of income.

The act sparked massive demonstrations over high unemployment, government corruption and political repression, and led autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to leave the country in January.

CNN's Nic Robertson contributed to this report.

 
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