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Tunisian leading human rights activist returns after decades in exile

01-18-2011 16:10 BJT

TUNIS, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds gathered at the airport of Tunisian capital Tunis on Monday, applauding the arrival of Kamel Jendoubi, one of the country's leading human rights activists, who has been in exile in France since 1994.

The excited crowd sang aloud Tunisian songs and waved flower bouquets to welcome the return of Jendoubi, only four days after the country's ex-president Zine Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia following weeks of violent protest against skyrocketing prices, unemployment and corruption.

Jendoubi, chairman of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network called on the people to join hands to build a bright future for Tunisia.

"I thank the Tunisian people, especially those who sacrificed their lives for the country," the activist said upon arrival, surrounded by people chanting such slogans as "we would sacrifice our lives for the thrive of the nation," "let the glory moment be recorded in Tunisian history."

Meanwhile, Jendoubi, also a cofounder of the Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia, asked people to exercise self-restraint and urged calm to be restored in the streets, so as to prepare ground for the introduction of true democracy to the riot-plagued country.

Earlier in the day, new protests broke out in the streets of Tunis, where people demanded the ruling party led by the fallen president give up power. Tunisian security forces used water cannon and fired bullets in the air to disperse demonstrators.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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