Rights groups condemn cinema attack



TUNIS- Tunisian artists and rights campaigners condemned Friday an attack by Salafist Muslims on a cinema showing a film about secularism.
The Lam Echaml group, made up of more than 80 associations, voiced concern over last Sunday's raid, calling at a press briefing in Tunis for "vigilance," against such acts.



"We are here today to say no to attacks on freedom of thought and creation", said Habib Belhedi of the Afric'Art cinema, targeted in the attack.
"We will not accept violence in this extremely tolerant country," he added.
Six members of the Salafist movement were arrested after they stormed the cinema and broke its glass doors in a bid to stop the screening of the film: "Neither Allah, nor Master" on secularism in Tunisia.
On Tuesday, police arrested 30 people where Salafist demonstrators gathered outside the main courthouse in Tunis to demand their release.
The Lam Echaml collective criticised the speed of the police response after the cinema attack and urged authorities "to do their duty.
At a separate press conference, interior ministry spokesman Neji Ziiri agreed the police intervention had been "tardy" and said officers were being disciplined.
After years in political exile, some believe Tunisia's hardline Islamist groups can play a leading role in the country's future as it emerges from a popular uprising that forced president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali to flee after 23 years in power.
On Monday, Islamist movement Ennahda (Renaissance), said it had pulled out of a national commission tasked with drawing up political reforms in Tunisia.
The group, which was legalised early March after three decades as a banned opposition group, accused the panel of ignoring the true aims of Tunisians.
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Saturday, July 2nd 2011
AFP
           


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