UPDATE 1-Man dies as Tunisian police open fire in clashes

* Reasons for latest violence not immediately clear

* Riots are rare in Tunisia

* Two national guard officers in coma – government

* Tunisia preparing for currency convertibility

(Adds details, quotes and background)

TUNIS, Dec 24 (BestGrowthStock) – One civilian was killed and
several others were injured on Friday when Tunisian police
opened fire on protesters during clashes in a provincial city,
official and trade union sources said.

An interior ministry spokesperson said police in Bouziane,
240 km (155 miles) south of the capital Tunis, had been forced
to “shoot in self-defence” after shots into the air failed to
disperse scores of protesters.

Reasons for the latest violence were not immediately clear
but clashes broke out a week ago in the town of Sidi Bouzid
after a man committed suicide in a protest about unemployment.
The protests later spread to several neighbouring cities.

Riots are rare in Tunisia, which has been run for 23 years
by President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and works closely with
Western governments to combat al Qaeda militants.

The North African country has become a regional focus for
international financial institutions since announcing a plan to
complete current account convertibility of its dinar currency
over the 2010-2012 period. [ID:nLDE6A60A4]

In Friday’s unrest, rioters barricaded a police station and
used molotov cocktails to torch the building and some police
cars, the spokesperson said in a statement carried by the
official TAP news agency.

One protester was killed and two others wounded in the
shooting, the spokesperson added, without saying what caused the
clashes. “Numerous members of the (national) guard suffered burn
injuries, two of them are in a coma,” the spokesperson added.

Mohamed Fadel, leader of the Secondary Education Union,
named the dead man. “Mohamed Ammari was killed by a bullet in
the chest when police opened fire, while many other protesters
were wounded.

“Police have now taken control of the situation … There is
a quasi-curfew in the city,” he told Reuters by telephone from
Bouziane.

The Tunisian government accused its opponents on Monday of
manipulating the clashes at the weekend between police and young
people in Sidi Bouzid to discredit the authorities.

Two witnesses told Reuters that rioting resumed late on
Monday in Sidi Bouzid, with hundreds of youths confronting
police who used tear gas to disperse them.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara, Writing by Souhail Karam; Editing by
David Stamp)

UPDATE 1-Man dies as Tunisian police open fire in clashes