The Tunisian president warned Tuesday rioters they will be punished after recent violent demonstrations over unemployment and other social demands. At least two protesters have died, one shot by police.
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali promised new measures to create jobs and sought to restore calm, accusing rioters of hurting Tunisia's image. The Tunisian leader met the families of the dead protesters Tuesday, as well as a hospitalized youth whose attempt to set himself on fire in the central town of Sidi Bouzid sparked 10 days of protests there and elsewhere in Tunisia.
"The law will be applied in all firmness" to punish "a minority of extremists and mercenaries who resort to violence and disorder," Ben Ali said in a televized address.The rioters "harm the country and give it a false image," he said. He accused unnamed political parties of fueling the unrest and using it for political ends.