78 killed, 94 injured in Tunisia's violence: minister

January 18, 2011 11:30 am 

TUNIS, Jan. 18 — Weeks of violent protests in Tunisia have killed 78 people, including members of the security forces, and injured 94 others, Interior Minister Ahmed Friaa said Monday on Tunisian state TV.

Earlier, the government had put the death toll at 23 as of Saturday, while oppositions said three times more people died in the riots.

Friaa, at a press conference, urged the security forces to protect the safety of people and called on Tunisians from all walks of life to safeguard their motherland.

According to Friaa, in several incidents armed men shoot randomly at people from cars without licensed plate. He demanded those gunman to lay down their arms and stop terrorizing civilians, or they would be punished by law.

Friaa, in the riot-ravaged capital Tunis, urged people to help maintain the stability of the country, stay away from violence and refrain from participating in any riot.

Referring to the security forces who manned the capital, the minister said "I appreciate all those who support the security forces to perform their duty, meanwhile, anyone from the security forces, who breaks the law, will be punished."

Tunis, capital of the North African country, still witnesses sporadic looting and protests on Monday, after former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was swept from power last Friday in a climax to weeks of protests against souring prices, unemployment and corruption.

Full-armed security forces and soldiers patrolled the capital now and then, while tanks and armored cars can be seen at the corners of the quiet streets with few pedestrians. (PNA/Xinhua)



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