British FM calls for 'return to law and order' in Tunisia

16th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Saturday appealed for a "rapid return to law and order" in Tunisia, which is suffering a fresh wave of looting and violence.

"It is critical that there is rapid return to law and order in Tunisia and I urge restraint from all sides. I condemn wholeheartedly the violence and looting which has been seen in the last 48 hours," Hague said in a statement.

"I welcome the efforts of the Tunisian authorities to hold elections as soon as possible and hope these elections are free and fair.

"We continue to advise British people to avoid all but essential travel to Tunisia.

"British people who are currently in Tunisia, without a pressing need to be in the country, should leave by commercial means. Airspace is currently open over Tunisia, but this situation is moving rapidly and may change."

Tunisia's acting president took power on Saturday and pledged to free up the political system amid continuing unrest following the ouster of the North African state's former authoritarian leader.

After being formally sworn into office to take over from Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, speaker of parliament Foued Mebazaa said that all Tunisians "without exception" would now be able to take part in national politics.

Security forces meanwhile imposed a harsh crackdown on suspected looters and locked down the heart of the capital Tunis to prevent further protests. Tanks and armoured personnel carriers were deployed around the city.


© 2011 AFP

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