The riots involved attacks on police stations, a courthouse, offices of secular parties and an art gallery in what is seen as one of the biggest threats yet to Tunisia’s nascent democracy.
The protests were sparked by an art exhibition that Islamists say insulted Islam, including paintings that caricatured Mecca and a portrayal of a nude woman. What appears to have provoked the biggest outcry though was a work of art that showed the word “Allah” spelled out by a string of ants.
Mobs hurling stones and incendiary firebombs rampaged through Tunis and clashed with security forces attempting to quell the rioting. The violent protests began in the northern outskirts of Tunis, specifically in La Marsa where the art gallery is located, and quickly spread to other cities in the country.
At least 162 individuals have been arrested since the start of the riots, which have left scores injured on both sides. Officials have announced that the curfew is in effect in the suburbs of Ben Arouss, Ariana and Manouba as well as the cities of Sousse, Monastir, Jendouba and Ben Guerdane.