Tunisia’s Islamist government has spoken out against hardliners calling the radical group Ansar al-Sharia, terrorists.
The move follows Sunday’s clashes in the city of Kairouan where members of the movement who were due to hold their annual conference, defied a ban on demonstrating.
One protester died and scores were injured in the violence.
“The organisation Ansar al-Sharia is an illegal organisation….which exercises violence against individuals and shrines. It insults and challenges the state. It doesn’t recognise citizenship or the grounds on which the state is based. It is linked to terror and is an expert in it,” said Prime Minister Ali Larayedh.
Following the clashes the group has postponed its conference until next Sunday which could prolong tensions in the city.
Ansar al-Sharia is the most radical Islamist group to emerge in Tunisia since the Arab Spring. Its leader is a former al Qaeda fighter.
In a separate development in Kairouan, the activist named Amina was arrested for placing a feminist banner on a mosque.