TUNIS (Reuters) – A Tunisian protester injured during clashes with police has died in hospital, state media reported on Monday, leading to more violent confrontations between demonstrators and security services in the town of Sbeitla.
Haykel Rachdi’s family told local media he was struck by a tear gas canister after joining the protests that erupted this month on the anniversary of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution that introduced democracy.
The Public Prosecutor’s office in Kasserine, the biggest city near Sbeitla, about three hours south of the capital, Tunis, has ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of Rachdi’s death, the state news agency, TAP, said.
After news of his death, a group of young men tried to storm and torch the police station in Sbeitla, leading to more clashes, TAP reported.
It raised the temperature ahead of demonstrations over inequality and police abuses planned on Tuesday in Tunis and other cities and backed by rights groups.
At a protest in central Tunis on Saturday, demonstrators were stopped from accessing the main central boulevard, but hundreds marched through the city centre chanting: “The people want the fall of the regime”.
Although Tunisia has free elections and greater freedom of speech than its neighbors, its revolution has failed to deliver material benefits for most citizens with an economy that has faltered for years and declining public services.
Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Peter Cooney
IMAGE: Police officers stand guard as demonstrators take part in an anti-government protest in Tunis, Tunisia, January 23, 2021. REUTERS/Jihed Abidellaoui