Clashes after Tunisia demo against police violence

Youths clashed with officers again Saturday evening, hours after a demonstration in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, to protest police violence following the latest death of a man arrested by police.

In the working class district of Sidi Hassine, several dozen young people threw projectiles, including fireworks, at police near the station, an AFP reporter witnessed. Police responded with tear gas.

The district has been rocked by angry protests since Tuesday, when the man died after being arrested by police on suspicion of dealing drugs, according to local media.

His family has accused the police of having beaten him to death and the authorities have opened an investigation, but the interior ministry denied Thursday that he had died from ill treatment following his arrest.

Earlier Saturday, several dozen leftwing activists and residents of working-class districts demonstrated in front of the interior ministry in protest at the death.

Among them were the mothers of three youths who have died over the past three years after having been arrested. They say they are campaigning to get justice for their children.

At the beginning of the demonstration, protesters also threw chairs at police on the avenue Bourguiba, in the city centre, and police arrested several people.

The authorities are also investigating a separate incident, which came to light after a video of what seems to be officers in civilian clothes beating a naked minor came to light.

This incident also took place in the Sidi Hassine district.

Ten years since a revolution that overthrew the police state of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s security forces have yet to see meaningful reform.

Officers very rarely face prosecution for alleged abuses.

Tunisia’s independent High Human Rights Commission said Thursday that incidents such as those in Sidi Hassine risked undermining “confidence in the state and its institutions”.

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