U.S. warns of risk in Tunisia

March 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- Civil unrest in Tunisia and the possibility of further violence means the security situation is unpredictable, the U.S. State Department warned.

A protest suicide in December 2010 sparked the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, which unseated long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. That revolution kicked off the so-called Arab Spring across the Middle East and North Africa. A 27-year-old street vendor died after self-immolating last week.

More than two years after the Tunisian revolution, the State Department said it was advising citizens of the risk of traveling to the North African country.

"The security situation in Tunisia remains unpredictable," the warning read. "Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have occurred throughout the country. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and demonstrations as even demonstrations that are intended to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable."

Western leaders last week welcomed the new government in Tunisia formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Ali Larayedh.

He received majority backing for his new government but stressed it would only serve until elections later this year. Hamadi Jebali resigned as prime minister when he couldn't form a consensus government in the wake of the February assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

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