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Britons flee violence in Tunisia

About 1,800 Britons are arriving home on emergency flights from strife-torn Tunisia, as trouble on the streets escalated and protesters defied an overnight curfew.

Tour operators Thomson and First Choice and Thomas Cook arranged the flights after violence swept through the North African country and ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia with his family.

Holidaymakers arriving back on Thompson flight 965 at Manchester Airport described chaotic scenes on the streets between the coastal resorts and at Monastir Airport.

Petrol stations on fire, shop windows smashed and armed soldiers on the streets created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Adam Wallace, 22, a security manager from Accrington, Lancashire, said: "When we went to the airport it was a bit unnerving. There were police stood on the corners of roads and groups of people hanging about, it did feel a bit intimidating.

"But there was no animosity towards us as tourists.

"There were a few smashed up buildings, there was a petrol station that had been vandalised and there were people looting but our resort was quite a way from the trouble."

Mary Grist, 66, from Chesterfield, has been to Tunisia seven times in the last seven years. Returning to Manchester Airport, she said: "What we have seen is the aftermath, burned out petrol stations and the army lining the streets with their guns.

"It was quite scary but I was never in fear for my life. I trusted the hotel and I think the curfew helped us feel safe."

Mrs Grist only flew out to the country on Wednesday, and she said: "I don't think we should have been allowed to go on Wednesday. Had I known that there was already trouble ,I would have chosen not to go. I think we should have been warned but they didn't so here we are, two-and-a-half days later, back home."


From Belfast Telegraph