Salafi Islamists, police clash in Tunis: witnesses
TUNIS - Hundreds of conservative Salafi Islamists, angered by an art exhibition they believe humiliates Muslims, clashed with police in Tunis early on Tuesday, raising religious tensions in the home of the Arab Spring.
The protesters blocked streets and set tires alight in the Ettadamen and Sidi Hussein districts of the capital, hurling petrol bombs at security forces who tried to disperse them with tear gas and by firing bullets into the air, witnesses said.
It was not immediately clear if anyone had been hurt but witnesses said the rioters had attacked a court house in Sidi Hussein and tried to burn a police building in Ettadamen.
The clashes come a day after a group of Salafis, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam, forced their way into an art exhibition in the upscale La Marsa suburb and defaced works they deemed offensive.
The exhibition and the attack on the art works has stirred up religious tensions in the home of the Arab Spring, which has seen several sporadic confrontations between Salafi Islamists and police in recent months.