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Security forces, protesters clash in Tunisia

By CNN Staff
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Tunisians shout insults at the police after they arrested a fellow resident from the southern Tunisian city of Kairouan.
Tunisians shout insults at the police after they arrested a fellow resident from the southern Tunisian city of Kairouan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: One protester died, state media report
  • Protesters are from a hardline Islamist group, Ansar al Sharia
  • They were denied permits to hold large meeting in another city
  • Group's spokesman was arrested, a source says

(CNN) -- One protester was killed as Tunisian security forces clashed Sunday with supporters of a hard-line Islamist group who were holding a conference despite a government ban.

One demonstrator from Ansar al Sharia was killed, Tunisia's official state news agency reported.

Earlier, the Tunisian interior minister said in a statement that one protester was critically wounded. It is unclear if that person died.

Two protesters were wounded, as were 11 police officers, the ministry release said.

Tunisia's bubbling unrest

An official from the ministry who is not authorized to speak to the media told CNN that troops fired tear gas at the protesters, who were throwing rocks, in a suburb of Tunis.

The meeting was originally scheduled to be held in the city of Kairouan, but the government denied the group's permit requests and instituted heavy security there.

It also arrested several people, including Ansar al Sharia's spokesman, the official said.

Ansar al Sharia is more a label than one organization. The name has been adopted by conservative Salafist groups across the Arab world. This group is different, for instance, from the one that initially took credit for the deadly September 11, 2011, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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