Unrest marks Tunisia revolution anniversary event

December 17, 2012 - 2:33 PM
Tunisia Revolution

Demonstrators protest against the visit of Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Sidi Bouzid, south Tunisia, the birthplace of the country's recent revolution. Marzouki arrived to mark the revolution's second anniversary. (AP Photo/Hichem Borni)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Protesters threw stones and tomatoes and booed Tunisian leaders Monday at a ceremony marking two years since the start of an uprising that changed regimes around the Arab world.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and other dignitaries who spoke had to be escorted off stage by security forces as some 3,000 people protested the country's moderate Islamist-led government.

Marzouki urged patience and said he has no "magic wand" to bring down unemployment.

But protesters complained they have seen little improvement in their region since the new government took power. Some held signs saying, "The people want the fall of the government and a new revolution."

Monday's ceremony marked two years since a street vendor set himself on fire to protest abuses under the regime of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Vendor Mohamed Bouazizi died but set off demonstrations that spread around Tunisia and to several Arab countries, including Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Syria.

In recent weeks, Tunisia's stagnant economy has fueled a face-off between the Islamist ruling party Ennahda and the country's main labor union. One region saw days of rioting.

Ennahda condemned Monday's protest, saying that unrest would only scare off investment in the region.