Tunisian Salafi Islamists riot, clash with police

By REUTERS
May 26, 2012 14:39

TUNIS - Hundreds of Salafi Islamists attacked bars and shops and clashed with security forces in a Tunisian town on Saturday in the latest incident to raise religious tensions in the home of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Police and witnesses in the northwestern town of Jendouba said hundreds of Salafis - followers of a puritanical interpretation of Islam - began rioting to protest the arrest of four men in connection with previous attacks on alcohol vendors.Police responded with tear gas, breaking up the crowd, but clashes had yet to die down, witnesses and police said.

"This morning, four men were arrested in connection with attacks on alcohol vendors in recent days," Interior Ministry official Lutfi al-Haydari told Reuters.

"So hundreds of Salafis attacked the security base, pelting it with rocks and petrol bombs before they were dispersed by tear gas. They also set fire to a police station and attacked three shops in the town ... they are now in the center of town and are being dealt with."

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