Today's events in Tunisia

A brief summary of reported events in Tunisia on Tuesday:

  • Latest videos: Police attack demonstrators outside union building in Sfax; early morning incident in the centre of Bizerte; protest in Ben Guerdane.

  • Tunisian stock market falls again, to lowest since last May.

  • Biggest trade union, UGTT, calls for general strike; date to be confirmed.

  • Several pictures on internet of police armed with Steyr AUGguns (made in Austria).

  • Continuing reports of a heavy death toll in Kasserine. As many as 50, according to some sources.

  • Several reports on Twitter of undercover regime supporters looting and being filmed by police – presumably to discredit protesters.

  • Heavy police presence in Tunis. Shops, etc, closed in Avenue Bourguiba. Group of lawyers beaten up while preparing to hold a peaceful protest. Ditto, a group of 100actors, musicians and artists trying to do a flashmob.

  • Rumours of a curfew in Tunis from 7pm tonight.

  • Facebook access reportedly returns after a five-hour break.

  • Police visit cafes in Tunis suburbs, ordering owners not to show al-Jazeera on the TV.

  • Radio Kalima journalist Nizar Ben Hassen arrested at his home in Chebba.

  • There is some speculation on Twitter about the role of the Tunisian military, with suggestions that the army, or at least sections of it, is refusing to take part in the repression. (I have no idea whether that is true or not.)

Outside Tunisia:

  • Quote from Vincent Geisser, author of "Dictateurs en sursis", in the French newspaper, Libération: "The White House is well aware today that the Ben Ali regime is finished. The Americans are seeking second or third man, capable of succeeding him. The United States would not necessarily be opposed to an 'orange revolution' in Tunisia. It is precisely for this scenario from the State Department is working."

  • Statement from William Hague, Britain's Foreign Secretary: "I condemn the violence in Tunisia and the deaths of protestors and regret today’s announcement of the closure of all national schools and universities across the country. I call on the Tunisian authorities to take steps to resolve this situation peacefully and without further violence with a commitment to respect the right to peaceful protest. I also call on the authorities to provide due and transparent process to those who have been detained."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 11 Jan 2011.