Calm has returned to the town of Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Tunisian revolution, after an overnight curfew was imposed because of violent post-election protests, police said. “There were no incidents during the night,” a police official told the Agencies. Tension had remained high late on Friday despite the curfew, as disgruntled groups threatened further damage and the army boosted patrols in the town, an AFP correspondent said. The curfew - in effect from 7:00pm on Friday until 5:00am on Saturday - was imposed after hundreds of people marched on the Sidi Bouzid headquarters of the Ennahdha party on Thursday. The crowd burned tyres and pelted security forces with stones following the announcement that Ennahdha had won last Sunday’s national elections.
On Saturday, the town’s weekly market was open, and residents went about normal activities as teams worked to clean and repair public buildings vandalised during the unrest there. A few tanks remained stationed by the police headquarters and town hall, however, and schools remained closed. In a statement on Saturday, Ennahdha’s Sidi Bouzid branch said it respected the right for people to peacefully protest, but it also condemned “all forms of violence and vandalism”. It was in Sidi Bouzid that Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year old fruit-seller, set himself on fire on December 17 last year to protest against abuses under Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s, the former president, 23-year regime. He died days later, but Bouazizi’s desperate act sparked the popular revolt that toppled Ben Ali less than a month later and ignited region-wide uprisings that have since also ousted strongmen in Cairo and Tripoli.