Tunisian police fire tear gas during clashes with radical Islamists on May 19, 2013 in a neighbourhood west of Tunis, after Salafist movement Ansar al-Sharia told its followers to gather
Tunisian police fire tear gas during clashes with radical Islamists on May 19, 2013 in a neighbourhood west of Tunis, after Salafist movement Ansar al-Sharia told its followers to gather © Khalil - AFP/File
 Tunisian police fire tear gas during clashes with radical Islamists on May 19, 2013 in a neighbourhood west of Tunis, after Salafist movement Ansar al-Sharia told its followers to gather
AFP
Last updated: December 16, 2013

Tunisian jihadists call for uprising

Tunisia's banned jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia designated a "terrorist organisation" by the authorities, has called for a demonstration Tuesday in central Tunis to mark the third anniversary of the revolution.

"The struggle is mandatory and it must be a popular struggle... which is why we extend our hands to anyone wanting to stand up to repression and we support the planned protest at the Kasbah on Tuesday," the group said on its official Facebook page.

"We must struggle against the tyranny of the authorities by all means possible," added the group, which is blamed for killing two leftist opposition MPs in separate attacks earlier this year.

It called on the people to carry with them "the anger of the orphans, the widows, the oppressed, the families of martyrs and detainees, and those who have suffered torture and oppression."

The authorities did not immediately respond to Ansar al-Sharia's call, which comes as Tunisia prepares to mark the third anniversary of the start of the revolution that toppled former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

There have been numerous calls to protest at the Kasbah in Tunis, where the government's headquarters are located, across the Internet and on fly posters.

Opposition activists are also calling for a day of "rage" in the impoverished central town of Sidi Bouzid, where the self-immolation of 26-year-old street vendor sparked the first so-called Arab Spring uprising.

Since then, Tunisia has been rocked by violence blamed on radical Islamist groups that were suppressed under the former dictator, with attacks multiplying in recent months, and with the opposition blaming the ruling Islamist party Ennahda of failing to rein in the jihadists.

The authorities say Ansar al-Sharia has ties to Al-Qaeda and was behind the killing of Chokri Belaid and Mohammed Brahmi in February and July, attacks which sparked political crises.

Ansar al-Sharia has denies responsibility for the Belaid and Brahmi murders.

Since the summer police have carried out multiple arrests aimed at weakening the secretive group, which accused Ennahda on Monday of being "traitors" only interested in power.

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