Professors protest after colleague killed in Tunisia unrest

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About 300 university professors demonstrated in Tunis Thursday after a colleague was killed in a police crackdown on protests, shouting anti-government slogans before being dispersed, journalists said.

The 38-year-old computing lecturer, who had dual French and Tunisian nationality, was shot dead on Wednesday in a clash between police and protesters in a wave of unrest that has rocked the country for four weeks.

Law professors at the El Manar campus of the University of Tunisia shouted slogans against the authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, moving their protest into the street before police moved in, journalists said.

They denounced the "assassination of a colleague" in the central town of Douz, and demanded security forces leave the campus.

Sami Aouadi, secretary general of a lecturers' union, demanded an investigation into the death of Hatem Bettahar, among two people shot dead in central town of Douz.

Bettahar lectured at the University of Technology in Compiegne, France.

"We came out to show our loyalty to martyrs of the protests and support the people who are rebelling against the dictatorship," said sociology professor Mahdi Mabrouk.

"The regime is entirely responsible for what has happened in the country, where the wealth has been stolen," he said.

New clashes erupted in the capital Thursday, with at least one person shot dead in the city centre, according to witnesses, after eight were reported killed in greater Tunis in overnight violence.

© 2011 AFP

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