Euronews’ correspondent in Tunis, Jamel Ezzedini, was able to get exclusive pictures of some of the latest violence in the Tunisian capital.
The unrest prompted the president to make a television announcement urging the army and police not to use firearms, and calling for peace. But by that time one man had been shot in front of our reporter, along with an unconfirmed number of others, some fatally.
President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali backed up his call for calm with promises of action to address the protesters’ grievances and said he would not stand in the 2014 presidential elections.
“The police were after us all the time. They shot us with real bullets, not blanks,” said one young man on the streets of Tunis.
“The people in balaclavas you hear of, these are not people from the streets, they are police agents,” another man added. “It is them burning cars, pillaging and smashing things. Today they started a fire on the main street and killed people.”
“The family, the Ben Ali clan, have raised the cost of living. They put their stamp on everything. Everything is expensive: electricity, water, bread. With our salaries, we cannot satisfy our most basic needs. If we buy a pack of cigarettes, we have nothing left,” was another reaction from a young Tunisian man.
After Ben Ali’s speech on television, our correspondent saw crowds come out into the streets in support of the president, but he remains sceptical about the immediate future.
“In spite of the president’s decision to fire two senior members of his team and the government’s calls for calm, the protests continue in Tunis and in several regions in the country,” Jamel Ezzedini reported.