Sunday, December 4, 2011

Islamists and secularists in Tunisia stand-off

    Sunday, December 04, 2011   No comments

By Tarek Amara
TUNIS | Sat Dec 3, 2011 8:31am EST
(Reuters) - Thousands of Tunisian Islamists and secularists staged parallel protests outside the interim parliament on Saturday in a dispute over how big a role Islam should play in society after the country's "Arab Spring" revolution.

Tensions have been running high between the two camps since the revolt in January scrapped a ban on Islamists and paved the way for a moderate Islamist party to come to power at the head of a coalition government.

The latest round of protests was sparked when a group of hardline Islamists occupied a university campus near the capital to demand segregation of sexes in class and the right for women students to wear a full-face veil.

About 3,000 Islamists gathered outside the constitutional assembly in the Bardo district of the Tunis on Saturday, separated by a police cordon from a counter-protest by about 1,000 secularists.

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