Tunisians Rally Against Interim Government

Published on Saturday 22nd January 2011

Hundreds of Tunisians gathered Saturday in the capital, Tunis, to protest the country's new unity government, as the prime minister promised to hold the country's first democratic elections since its independence from France in 1956. The protesters were joined by dozens of members of the country's feared police force, blamed for the bloody crackdown on protesters.  The demonstration comes on the second day of national mourning for the victims of the recent unrest, which topped the government of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.Protesters have been calling for the ouster of all government officials with ties to the former president.  Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, who served under the former strongman, said Friday that he will quit politics after the new government comes to power.  He did not specify when either event would take place. Mr. Ben Ali fled the country a week ago after weeks of rioting.  The government said at least 78 people had been killed.  U.N. officials say the death toll may be as high as 100. On Thursday, Tunisia's interim government offered amnesty to political prisoners and granted recognition to banned political parties.  The government also said schools and universities would reopen next week.Tunisian state television said Mr. Ben Ali's RCD party had dissolved its leadership committee after many leadership members quit.  However, state TV reported the party would continue to operate. View the timeline of historical events in Tunisia

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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