TUNIS Tunisia's Islamist prime minister said on Thursday he would not resign over violent protests over economic hardship this week that left over 200 injured, accusing opposition parties of sowing disorder.
"In democratic systems we don't force down governments. I'm not going to resign or dissolve the government, it's parliament that has authority to do that," Hamadi Jebali told a news conference. "We know who is behind these events, the opposition parties."
At least 200 people were injured when Tunisians demanding jobs clashed with police on Tuesday and Wednesday in the city of Siliana in a region on the edge of the Sahara desert that has long complained of economic deprivation.
Tunisia's new, elected Islamist-led government has sought to revive the economy in the face of a decline in trade with the crisis-hit euro zone and disputes between secularists and hardline Salafi Islamists over the future direction of the North African Arab state.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Myra MacDonald)