Violent clashes erupt in Tunisian mining town

09:38, July 14, 2011      

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The mining town of Gafsa in south Tunisia witnessed violent clashes on Wednesday between opposing groups of people, the official press agency TAP reported.

The security forces were deployed to stop the violence. Police used tear gas to disperse the opposing groups armed with sabers, knives and batons, TAP said.

A number of people were injured in the fighting.

Shops closed down and public transportation came to a halt after some groups set fire to car tires and plastic garbage containers.

Similar events took place on Saturday in the neighboring town of Sbeitla, where a dusk-to-dawn curfew was declared.

A few weeks ago the mining town of Metlaoui also became the scene of violent clashes between rival tribal groups. The events caused the death of 13 people and injured scores.

Nearly six months after former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after weeks of unrest, the North African country is struggling to impose security on its territory.

On October 23.7 million voters are expected to elect the country's Constituent Assembly, which will be tasked with drafting a new constitution.

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