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TUNISIA - Violence a threat to democracy - citizens

Published:Tuesday | October 23, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Thousands decried the growing violence in Tunisian politics during a protest in the capital yesterday, warning that the nation's nascent democracy is at risk almost exactly a year after it held historic elections.

The march in Tunis came four days after the death of a union leader during a protest that turned violent.

Some 4,000 people concerned over the degenerating climate marched down the main avenue of the capital during yesterday's demonstration. Among them was former Central Bank Governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli, who called for "peace and concord" in this "critical period".

Nine people were injured in the small protest in Tataouine, in the south, and the union leader died of what the Interior Ministry said was a heart attack. A banner at the head of the march bore an image of the face of the union leader, baptized a "martyr for democracy."

Opposition party offices in Tunisia also have been attacked and, in the most brazen violence, thousands of protesters stormed the US Embassy compound a month ago. Some of the protesters tore down the American flag and looted the nearby American school. On its website, the US Embassy says the security situation remains unpredictable.