First Night of Curfew Ends in Tunisian City

Posted October 29th, 2011 at 12:10 am (UTC-5)
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Tunisians in the town that was the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings are emerging Saturday from the first night of a newly imposed curfew.

Officials announced an overnight curfew in Sidi Bouzid on Friday after demonstrators took to the streets for a second day to show their displeasure over the outcome of the country's first free elections.

The protests began after election officials invalidated seats won by the rival Popular List party, citing campaign violations.

On Friday, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Sidi Bouzid. Authorities say several buildings were damaged, including the local headquarters of the Islamist Ennahdha party – the party that secured the most seats in Sunday's voting.

Ennahdha leader Rachid Ghannouchi called for calm and said his party would work to form a new government in “friendliness” and “brotherhood.”

Election officials announced the final results Thursday. Ennahdha received more than 41 percent of the vote and will dominate the constituent assembly.

The assembly has been tasked with writing a new constitution, appointing a president and forming a caretaker government.

Ennahdha has begun negotiations with two liberal parties that came in second and third in the elections.

Tunisia's landmark elections were widely considered free and fair. Sunday's vote came a little more than nine months after Tunisians overthrew former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.