January 16, 2011 / 3:18 PM / 7 years ago

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

(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)

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