The veteran leader of Tunisia’s ruling party, En-Nahda, said the Tunisian authorities would crack down on Salafists after deadly violence around the US embassy, saying they pose a threat to the country's freedoms and security.
"Each time that parties or groups overstep our freedoms in a flagrant manner, we have to be tough, clamp down and insist on public order," Rached Ghannouchi told AFP in an interview.
"These people pose a threat not only to Ennahda but to the country's freedoms and security."
Ghannouchi denied that the Ennahda-led coalition government had been lax in its failure so far to arrest Salafist leader Seif Allah Ibn Hussein, suspected of organizing the protest on Friday of last week at the US embassy and adjacent American school in Tunis.
"But the police will hunt him down until he has been arrested."
As fears mounted of fresh protests this Friday, Ghannouchi said that from now on the security forces would deal firmly with any breaches of public order.
"The police have learnt the lesson and I don't think there's going to be any repetition (this Friday)," he said.