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Clashes in western Tunisia after self-immolation of journalist

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By Mohamed Argoubi

Tunis (Reuters) – Clashes erupted on Monday between Tunisian protesters and security forces in the western city of Kasserine following the self-immolation of a Tunisian photo journalist, eyewitnesses told Reuters.

Abderazzak Zergui died after he set himself on fire in protest over social conditions, they said.

The incident was reminiscent of the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouaziz eight years ago, which sparked revolutions that toppled autocrats in what came to be known as the Arab Spring.

Security forces used tear gas to disperse angry crowds that erected barricades and burned tyres inside the city of Kasserine in protest, an eyewitness told Reuters.

In a video shared on Facebook prior to his death, Zergui appeared to say that whenever the unemployed in his town prepare to protest, militant attacks are launched to silence them.

“This is an appeal to Kasserine people, I will carry out a revolution by myself,” he said in the video.

The journalists union issued a statement holding the state responsible for what it described as the corruption that plagues the media.

Tunisia has been praised for its democratic progress since 2011 but successive governments have failed to push through reforms to trim deficits, create jobs and boost growth.

(Reporting by Mohamed Argoubi, Writing by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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