CORRECTED - UPDATE 1-French photographer in Tunisia in critical state

Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:41pm GMT

(Corrects after family statement saying photographer has not died but is alive, in critical condition)

PARIS Jan 16 (Reuters) - A French photographer covering the street protests in Tunisia is in critical condition after sustaining head injuries on Friday from a tear gas canister fired by a nearby police officer, his family said on Sunday.

The family sent a statement to correct media reports that Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, 32, had died of his injuries, as his employer and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had been told.

"The partner and family of French photographer Lucas Mebrouk clarify that at this time, he has not died. Nevertheless, he is in an extremely critical state," the statement said.

Mebrouk was in Tunis for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), covering the protests that led to the ousting of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on Friday.

Several dozen people have died in four weeks of protests over unemployment, poor living conditions and alleged government corruption.

RSF said a police officer standing near Mebrouk Dolega during a street riot had fired the tear gas canister. (Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.