Tunisia deploys heavy security at Turkish embassy

Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayed, 2nd right, greets his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, facing camera left, at the Airport of Tunis Carthage, Tunis, Wednesday, June 5, 2013. In Turkey thousands of union members on a two-day strike marched into Istanbul's landmark Taksim Square and central Ankara in a show of support for protesters angry at what they see as Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule. Police used tear gas and water cannons to break up the gathering in Ankara after allowing demonstrations to continue for some eight hours. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) -- Tunisia called out the army to protect the Turkish embassy following calls for protests in solidarity with demonstrators in Turkey as the country's prime minister visited Tunis.

Armored vehicles backed by squads of riot police surrounded the embassy Thursday after the left-wing Popular Front coalition called for demonstrations. A pro-Syrian group also demanded protests.

Police used tear gas to disperse a small demonstration in front of the chamber of commerce where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was set to give a speech to Tunisian businessmen later in the day.

Protests in Istanbul against Erdogan's plans to replace a park with a shopping mall have gone on for a week.

Protests are common in Tunisia, which kicked off the Arab Spring in 2011 by overthrowing its dictator in a popular uprising.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting