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Tunisian crisis: tick-tock of an eventful day

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-01-18

On Monday, a new Tunisian national unity government was announced in a bid to stabilize the country. But the morning after, those hopes were undermined in the course of what would become an eventful day.

Developments in Tunisia have been fast unfolding Tuesday, with ministers resigning, protesters gathering and police amassing as governments and ordinary citizens across the region reacting to the historic happenings in the North African nation. FRANCE 24 has been following the events as they occur.
5.54 pm: Tunisian state media announce that interim President Fouad Mebazaa and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi have resigned from the ruling RCD (Democratic Constitutional Rally) party. They however remain in their positions as president and prime minister. The RCD also expels disgraced former president al-Abidine Ben Ali and six of his close associates.

3.27 pm: In Iran, several members of parliament, express their support for the "revolutionary movement" of the Tunisian people in a statement signed by 228 of the 290 deputies in the country’s conservative-dominated parliament.

3.27 pm: Egyptian security officials say another man who attempted to immolate himself in the northern city of Alexandria has succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

3.23 pm: In France, Prime Minister François Fillon tells parliament he has "full confidence" in his foreign minister, Michèle Allio-Marie, following her controversial remarks in which she offered to train Tunisian police cracking down on demonstrators protesting against Ben Ali’s regime.

2.58 pm: Members of Tunisia’s Nahda party, a moderate Islamist party banned under Ben Ali, say they will apply for legal recognition of their movement.

2.21 pm: Senior opposition leader Moncef Marzouki arrives in Tunis from Paris to a jubilant reception by cheering supporters. He tells reporters he will run for the next presidential election.

1.58 pm: FRANCE 24 reports that Taieb Baccouch, education minister, has resigned. The Associated Press reports that Health Minister Mustapha Ben Jafaar of the opposition FDTL party has also resigned.

1.13 pm: Protests spread to several cities. In the capital, police violently dispersed a thousand demonstrators. About 5,000 people gather in the central city of Sfax. Protests break out in the southern Tunisian cities of Sidi Bouzid, Regueb and Kasserine.

12.42 pm: Junior Transportation Minister Anouar Ben Gueddour confirms that he and two other ministers - Labour Minister Houssine Dimassi and Abdeljelil Bedoui, a minister without portfolio, have quit the government.

12.20 pm: Witness reports say protests are starting to break out in southern and central Tunisia.

12.09 pm: Protesters start gathering in the capital of Tunis, calling for the end of the ruling RCD party.

11.40 am: The morning after a new unity government was announced, unity appears to be in tatters with the Arabic al Jazeera TV station reporting that three ministers allied to the UGTT (General Union of Tunisian Workers) - Labour Minister Houssine Dimassi, junior Transportation Minister Anouar Ben Gueddour and Abdeljelil Bedoui, a minister without portfolio, had quit the government.

11.20 am: Egyptian security officials say a man has torched himself outside a Cairo government building in a copycat immolation of a Tunisian vendor’s suicide attempt on Dec. 17, 2010, which sparked the demonstrations that ultimately led to Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster. It’s the second such incident in the Egyptian capital in as many days.



Date created : 2011-01-18


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