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Africa

Thousands of Tunisians protest against caretaker government

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-25

Tens of thousands of Tunisians demonstrated Friday in the capital city to demand the resignation of the caretaker government. Protesters say they are angry that figures from the old regime remain in place.

AFP - Tens of thousands of Tunisians rallied Friday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's transitional government set up after last month's ouster of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.
              
Demonstrators chanted "Ghannouchi Leave" and "Shame on This Government" as army helicopters circled above the crowd massed in the Kasbah government quarter, where police estimated the number of people at over 100,000.
              
It was the biggest of several rallies against the transitional authority since the fall of long-time ruler Ben Ali on January 14 following weeks of demonstrations, protesters and Red Crescent workers estimated.
              
Tunsians, whose uprising sparked others rocking the Arab world, are angry that figures from Ben Ali's authoritarian regime, such as Ghannouchi, are still in power and fear their revolution could be hijacked.
              
Demonstrators marched down the capital's main Habib Bourguiba Avenue towards the Kasbah shouting "Revolution Until Victory" and "We Will Root Out Repression in Our Land".
              
They also chanted "Ghannouchi, Take Your Dogs and Go" and "No to the Confiscation of the Revolution".
              
"We are here today to topple the government," said Tibini Mohamed, a 25-year-old student.
              
Ghannouchi's caretaker government, established on January 17 and tasked with leading Tunisia to elections, has faced regular protests demanding it root out vestiges of the old regime.
              
Ghannouchi, prime minister under Ben Ali from 1999, bowed to the pressure and removed some of the controversial figures in a January 27 reshuffle.
              
His government has introduced several reforms but has not yet fixed a date for the election, meant to be held within six months from Ben Ali's ouster.
              
Ghannouchi left his offices in the Kasbah complex late January after the first protests, which lasted nearly a week.
              
Tunisians "are living in a political vacuum," a law student who gave his name only as Ramzi told AFP at the Kasbah rally, against a background of continuing instability after the uprising and as Tunisians see little improvement to their daily lives.
              
"We demand the firing of the whole government and of Ghannouchi," he said, among youths who were draped in the Tunisian flag.
              
Demonstrators, mobilised over Facebook, also shouted slogans against Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Assembly party, which was suspended on February 6 ahead of its dissolution.
              
On Sunday 4,000 people protested in front of the Kasbah to demand the sacking of the transitional government as well as the election of a constituent assembly and installation of a parliamentary system.
              
The fall of Ben Ali after 23 years in power sparked similar uprisings in the Arab world, including one that led to the downfall of long-time Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on February 11 and another under way in Libya.

 

Date created : 2011-02-25

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