Police have clashed with hardline Islamists in Tunisia after the government banned their annual rally.
The Salafist Ansar al-Sharia group, who openly support Al Qaeda, were due to hold the gathering in the central city of Kairouan but told their Facebook followers to gather in the Ettadamen district of Tunis instead, where tensions boiled over.
As some 500 protesters attempted to gather in the capital police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd who responded by throwing stones.
The Interior Ministry said that they forbade the gathering in Kairouan as it posed a ‘threat to public security’.
Hardline Islamist groups have alarmed the secular elite by calling for religion to play a larger role in Tunisia. Authorities fear they wish to promote an agenda which would impose sharia law compromising women’s rights and democracy.
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