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Tunisia Vows to Crack Down on Protests

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TEHRAN, July 18 (ICANA) – Tunisia's caretaker Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi has threatened a crackdown on the recent wave of demonstrations in the North African county.
Monday, July 18, 2011 11:37:17 PM
Tunisia Vows to Crack Down on Protests

Essebsi made the remarks during an address to the nation on Monday.

He said the government will no longer tolerate any action that would lead to violence.

His remarks came hours after two people were killed during clashes between police and protesters in Sidi Bouzid.

The prime minister stressed that police have not used force against protesters and instead blamed extremists for the deaths.

Essebsi said individuals have stolen weapons from security forces during previous attacks on police stations.

Tunisia has been witnessing fresh sit-ins and demonstrations demanding the resignation of the caretaker government.

Protesters also want the prosecution of those responsible for the deadly crackdown on January's popular uprising.

Essebsi also noted that fresh wave of violence could prevent the country from holding its first post-revolution elections.

"There were disturbances aimed at preventing elections," he said.

Tunisia is set to hold elections on October 23 to replace the transitional government.

The developments come as Tunisians are still skeptical about a rapid transition towards democracy.

Demonstrators have demanded the resignation of the transitional government, which still includes figures from the ousted regime of former ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tensions have been climbing in Tunisia following reports of a possible coup by elements loyal to Ben Ali.

This will be the first election since the overthrow of former president Ben Ali in January.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia following a popular uprising in January after 23 years in power.

The Tunisian uprising later served as an inspiration for other North African states, including Egypt and Libya.

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