Tourists flee Tunisian riots

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A WEARSIDE holidaymaker arriving back from home from Tunisia has described chaotic scenes after a rebellion forced the president to flee.

Petrol stations on fire, shop windows smashed and armed soldiers on the streets created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

But Sunderland sunseeker Ross Wiseman, who flew back into Manchester Airport on Saturday night, said he enjoyed his cut-short trip and would return.

He was less than 36 hours into his holiday when he and his family were brought home.

He said: “In the complex, you couldn’t see much, except on the balconies where you could see smoke and fire in the distance.

“Going about the streets before the curfew, there were smashed windows, burnt-out cars – just one big mess really.

“The atmosphere in the hotel was fine, everyone was positive and the staff were doing all they could to keep us happy.

“We had a nine-year-old with us and he was panicking but I think the adults felt safe in the complex.

“On the journey to the airport, there were armed soldiers on the streets and that was intimidating; you could see snipers on the tops of the buildings.

“But even though this happened, I would definitely go back. It was one of the nicest and friendliest places I have ever been to.

“I enjoyed every minute of it.”

All British tourists booked on big tour operator holidays have been helped on to flights back to the UK, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has confirmed.

More than 3,000 Britons fled the North African country over the weekend on emergency flights.

Between 1,000 and 1,500 British expats, independent travellers and small tour group holidaymakers are still believed to be in Tunisia, following the fall of the country’s president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, amid mass protests.

At least 100 Tunisians are believed to have died since trouble erupted.

The FCO has advised against all non-essential travel to Tunisia and all outbound flights from the UK have been cancelled.