Tunisia's chief prosecutor issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for a man believed to be behind last week's unrest that rocked the country.
Two days of riots shook the North African nation after ultraconservative Muslims declared an art exhibit to be insulting to God, and then attacked courthouses and police stations.
Justice Ministry Spokesman Mondher Bendhiafi told The Associated Press that "the prosecutor of the Republic decided to arrest Mohammed Ali Bouaziz for attempting to disrupt public order."
Bouaziz, who works as a bailiff, went to the art exhibit in the upscale Tunis suburb of La Marsa on June 10, declared it blasphemous, and then went to a nearby mosque where he showed pictures of the exhibit to people taking prayer. He has been described in the media as a member of the former ruling party of Tunisia's deposed president.
Over the next two days, police battled mobs throwing stones and firebombs in several cities around the country.
One person was killed and dozens wounded. Police say ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis were behind the attacks, mixed together with criminal elements.
The government, which is dominated by a newly elected moderate Islamist party, has been criticized for being too permissive of Salafis have been involved in a number of incidents.
This time, however, the unrest has prompted a swift response from authorities who have arrested 140 people, including an imam in the northern town of Jendouba who allegedly called for violence.
Another imam from the prestigious Zaytouna mosque in the capital lost his position after calling for the death of artists.
Since it overthrew its secular dictatorship last year, Tunisia has seen an upsurge in conservative Islamist activity and heated debate over the role of religion in public life.