Heavy security in Tunisia to protect Erdogan

AP News
Posted: Jun 06, 2013 1:10 PM
Heavy security in Tunisia to protect Erdogan

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — As Turkey's leader visited Tunisia on Thursday, two small demonstrations took place in Tunis in support of the anti-government protests taking place in Turkey.

But no violence was reported as Tunisia's military protected the Turkish Embassy. Armored vehicles backed by squads of riot police surrounded the embassy and kept 100 protesters at a distance.

The second protest involved dozens of people and took place in front of the Chamber of Commerce ahead of a scheduled meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Tunisian businessmen.

A pro-Syrian government group also took part in the protests, which had been called for by Tunisia's leftist Popular Front coalition.

Tens of thousands of people have been holding anti-government protests in Turkey, sparked by Erdogan's plans to replace a park with a shopping mall in Istanbul.

Erdogan was completing a four-day tour of northern Africa on Thursday and returning home. The way he responds to the unrest upon returning is being closely watched.

Protests are common in Tunisia, which kicked off the Arab Spring in 2011 by overthrowing its dictator in a popular uprising.