Tunisians set fire to building after migrant tragedy

Tunis - Relatives of Tunisians who drowned after a migrant boat collided with a navy vessel at the weekend set fire to a local government building on Thursday in protest, officials and an NGO said.

Interior ministry spokesperson Yasser Mesbah said around 40 Tunisians torched the building in the central town of Souk Lahad and tried to set on fire a police station.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, he said.

At least eight migrants drowned on Sunday after their boat sank following a collision with a Tunisian navy vessel in the Mediterranean, while 38 others were rescued, the defence ministry has said.

NGOs say around 40 more people are still missing.

Romdhane Ben Amor, of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights NGO, said the protesters were relatives and friends of three migrants who died and of some of the missing.

According to Ben Amor, the demonstrators set fire to the building to protest against "the attitude of the government" who they say is not being forthcoming with information about their loved ones.

"There is a lot of tension and anger," Ben Amor said.