Hundreds Demonstrate in Tunisian Capital

Published on Wednesday 19th January 2011

Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched in the Tunisian capital calling for allies of the ousted president to leave the government.The demonstrators walked down the streets of Tunis Wednesday chanting songs and calling for former RCD ruling party members to step down.On Monday, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced a coalition government that included the current ministers of defense, interior, foreign affairs and finance.  He announced lower-level cabinet positions for several opposition figures.   At least four opposition ministers have quit the unity government, aligning themselves with the anti-government protestesrs.A spokesman for the interim prime minister says the ministers are deciding whether to hold  their first cabinet meeting on Wednesday or Thursday.Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country Friday after a month of protests and rioting sparked by widespread unemployment and high food prices.  His departure ended more than two decades of authoritarian rule.Tunisia's interior ministry said Monday that 78 people have died in the month-long violence. The government previously put the number of fatalities at 23. Unofficial estimates put the death toll at around 100.Separately Wednesday, the international credit Ratings agency Moody's Investors Service lowered Tunisia's rating from Baa2 to Baa3. The ratings agency said the downgrade was due to instability and current changes to the political regime.The lower rating means it will cost Tunisia more to borrow money.


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