Tunisian president eschews travel as security lags

AP News
Posted: Jun 17, 2012 12:23 PM
Tunisian president eschews travel as security lags

Tunisia's president is canceling previously planned foreign trips _ including one to Brazil for an environment summit _ because of a worsening security situation in the North African country.

The official news agency TAP reported Sunday that Moncef Marzouki is skipping trips to fellow African country Senegal and to Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development "in order to monitor the domestic situation" in the wake of recent violence in Tunisia.

Police and religious youths clashed in the capital, Tunis, and other cities this week after protests erupted over an upscale art exhibit that hardline Islamists alleged was blasphemous.

Tunisians overthrew secular dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last year in a popular uprising that sparked similar pro-democracy movements around the region. His regime savagely repressed any manifestations of political Islam.