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.

A small demonstration took place 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.