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14-year-old killed at Tunisia rally

A 14-year-old boy has been killed by a "stray bullet" in a violent protest in the Tunisian town where the uprisings around the Arab world were first unleashed, the country's official news agency has reported.

Demonstrators hurled Molotov cocktails at security forces, and police and soldiers responded with warning shots in the violence, the TAP news agency claimed.

Two other protesters were seriously wounded in the clashes in the inland town of Sidi Bouzid, where residents say little has changed since protests erupted there in December over unemployment, corruption and repression.

The demonstrations spread around Tunisia, forcing autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee and inspiring anti-government protests in several Arab countries this year.

The momentum of the Arab Spring now appears to be stalling, however. Tunisia, a symbol of the movement, has seen a resurgence of violent protests in recent days, as the interim government struggles to build a new democracy.

In Sidi Bouzid's latest protest, youths gathered late on Sunday and lobbed petrol bombs and rocks at police and soldiers, TAP reported. The protesters blocked the town's main road with a car they set on fire and smashed storefronts, it said.

TAP cites the district security chief, Samir Melliti, as saying the 14-year-old was hit by a "stray bullet" in clashes between security forces and protesters. The news agency said the police and troops were firing warning shots to disperse the crowd.

Nine people were arrested, four during the protest and five others during raids afterwards, TAP reported.


From Belfast Telegraph