Clinton urges Tunisians to protect new freedoms

February 25, 2012 15:42

SIDI BOU SAID, Tunisia - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Tunisians on Saturday to protect their newly-won freedoms and called on Islamist and secular parties to work together in the country that launched the Arab Spring.

Speaking to a group of about 200 students, Clinton also urged young people to use social media and other technologies that enabled popular revolts across the region last year to hold their new rulers to account.

"After a revolution, history shows it can go one of two ways. It can move in the direction you are now headed, building a strong, democratic country, or it can derail ... into autocracy, into new absolutism," Clinton said in a meeting a Andalusian-style seaside villa.

"The victors of revolutions can become their victims," she added. "You must be the guardians of your democracy."

Clinton spoke during a swing through North Africa that has been dominated by the violence in Syria, where forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have kept up attacks on civilians and opposition forces seeking to end his family's four-decade rule.

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