Ban urges restrain and dialogue amid escalating violence in Tunisia


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged restraint after deadly riots and violent clashes between Tunisian security forces and protesters reportedly claimed at least 14 lives in recent days.

According to media reports, the Tunisian Government today ordered all schools and universities to be indefinitely closed following continuing violent protests linked to frustrations with poor job prospects and the country’s leaders.

“The Secretary-General calls for restraint and urges all parties to seek to resolve differences through dialogue,” stated a note issued by his spokesperson.

“He underscores the importance of full respect for freedom of expression.”

The Associated Press reports that Tunisia’s president went on national television and announced a plan to create 300,000 jobs over two years in the North African nation. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali also blamed rioters for what he called “terrorist acts.”

Demonstrators have attacked public buildings and set cars on fire during more than three weeks of unrest, while police have opened fire on rioters several times. Washington has expressed concerns over Tunisia’s handling of the situation, and its ambassador was summoned Monday to the Foreign Ministry.