At least 8,000 Islamists staged a mass demonstration in central Tunis on Sunday in the latest show of force to demand the adoption of Islamic law in the north African country.
"The people want an Islamic state", "the people want sharia (Islamic law)," chanted the protesters, whose number was estimated by a police officer on site at between 8,000 and 10,000.
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Tunisia's moderate Islamist leaders, who took power following last year's ouster of strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after a popular uprising, are under pressure to adopt sharia law in the new constitution.
Demonstrators also condemned as "an unacceptable crime" and a "provocative act" the desecration of the Koran and religious sites in incidents in Tunisia last week.
Copies of the Muslim holy book were found torn in a mosque in the southeastern town of Ben Guerdane and eggs splattered on its walls while in Tunis, the Star of David was daubed on the walls of a mosque used as a base for Salafist rallies.