Police in Tunis used tear gas to try to disperse hundreds of muslim extremists who were attacking them with stones, knives and batons.
The Islamists were protesting a decision to broadcast animated film Persepolis which they said denigrated Islam. They were also protesting against a ban on women who wear the niqab, or full-face veil, enrolling in university.
This was the biggest clashes over religion in the Tunisian capital for several years.
Update: TV Channel Chief Firebombed
15th October 2011. See article
Tunisian extremists have firebombed the home of a TV station chief. About a hundred men, some of whom threw Molotov cocktails, lay siege to the home of Nabil Karoui, the head of the private television station Nessma late on Friday, the station reported
in its evening news bulletin.
Sofiane Ben Hmida, one of Nessma's star reporters, told AFP the station chief was not at home when the attack on his house took place. But his wife and children were. About 20 of the protesters had managed to get inside. The family managed to get out the
back and are safe. The attackers wrecked the house and set it on fire.
Interior ministry spokesman Hichem Meddeb told AFP around a hundred people had turned up outside the house, forced their way inside, broken the windows and torn out two gas pipes. Five people had been arrested, he added.
This was the most serious incident yet in an escalating series of protests against the station's broadcast of Persepolis on October 7. The globally acclaimed animated film on Iran's 1979 revolution 'offended' many Muslims because it depicts an
image of God as an old, bearded man.
Earlier on Friday, police fired tear gas at demonstrators as some of the protests against the station degenerated. The main demonstration began peacefully at a central Tunis mosque after Friday prayers, with men and women chanting slogans against Nessma.
Thousands of people, many of them Salafist Muslims, were present.
Karoui has already apologised for having broadcast the film.
Update: 3000 Protest in defence of freedom of expression
17th October 2011. See article
Around 3,000 people peacefully demonstrated in the capital of Tunisia Sunday in defence of freedom of expression, two days after a violent protest against the broadcast of an animated and supposedly blasphemous film Persepolis .
The demonstration was meant as a riposte after the violent protests that followed the broadcast last week by Nessma TV, a private channel, of the film about the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution.
The film by French-Iranian director Marjane Satrapi, based on the autobiographical graphic novels of the same name, show the author as a young girl chafing under the clampdown on civil liberties and discussing her frustrations with God.
We're demonstrating against extremism, for freedom of expression, including artistic freedom, Semia Mahfoudh, a high school teacher, who attended Sunday's demonstration, told dpa. She said she feared that if Ennahda came to power, Tunisia's
tradition of secularism and commitment to gender equality would be jeopardized.