Remnants of riots in Tunisia

MSNBC is reporting that violence in Tunis is escalating. Rioters hurled stones at trams and government buildings in Tunisia's capital on Thursday in defiance of increasingly tough government attempts to end more than three weeks of rioting by youths angry about joblessness. Police opened fire and killed four people who defied a government curfew, opposition members said. While the official death toll is at 23, opposition leaders say that it is closer to 50 deaths.

The unprecedented violence highlights resentment against autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who has squashed civil liberties, jailed opponents and tightly controlled the media during 23 years of rule in the Mediterranean tourist haven, where unrest had been rare. Ben Ali announced plans to give his third television address since the start of tensions later in the day. In earlier addresses, he pledged job creation, which has done little to quell the rioting and looting.

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In response to complaints about a lack of openness, the government opened a media hot line, but calls to the line went unanswered on Thursday, according to MSNBC. And therein lies the rub. It appears that the president's pledge of job creation and openness is just that: talk with little action. Something real and concrete needs to happen, or else it is certain that violence and rioting will continue to spread.

Read more at MSNBC.

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