SomaliPress.com

Anti-RCD Protests As Tunisia Mourns Jasmine Revolution Dead

Published on Saturday 22nd January 2011

Demands that deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's former allies be purged from Tunisia's political life continue, as the country starts three days of mourning for those killed by security forces during the revolt that toppled him.

Protests demanding that ex-members of Ben Ali's RCD party be kicked out of the new government continued in Tunis Friday, with many demonstrators waving flags of the powerful UGTT union.

Flags flew at half-mast and state television broadcast prayers from the Koran to honour the 78 people officials say were killed during the crackdown on the uprising which led to the Jasmine Revolution.

The government has declared three days of mourning.

The government's first meeting Thursday declared an amnesty for political prisoners, lifted a ban on political parties, such as the Islamist Ennahda party and the Communist Party, and started a bid to reclaim national assets given to the RCD.

On Friday journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, who has been living in exile in Paris, said he will stand for president.

"I am the prophet of the Tunisian revolt," he told the Nouvel Observateur magazine.

Left-winger Moncef Marzouki has also declared that he wants to run.

Tunisian state television reports that weapons have been seized at the home of a member of Leila Ben Ali's family, following Thursday's arrest of 33 of the ex-president's relations.

Sources at Tunisia's Central Bank on Friday denied French media claims that Ben Ali's wife Leila made off with 1.5 tonnes of gold, worth 45 million euros, from its reserves.

On Tuesday the bank claimed that its stocks have remained at 5.3 tonnes for the lat 20 years. But the World Gold Council puts the figure at 6.8 tonnes.

Le Monde newspaper quoted a French secret services agent as saying that Ben Ali himself bullied the bank's governor into complying with his wife's demand, while the TF1 TV station reports that the gold was withdrawn at the end of December.

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