Tunisians Continue Protests against Interim Government
17 Dec: Man sets himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid over lack of jobs, sparking protests
24 Dec: Protester shot dead in central Tunisia
28 Dec: Protests spread to Tunis
8-10 Jan: Dozens of deaths reported in crackdown
12 Jan: Interior minister sacked
13 Jan: President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali promises to step down in 2014
14 Jan: Mr Ben Ali dissolves parliament after new mass rally, then steps down and flees
(Source: BBC News)
Tunisians continued to protest against the interim government led by the Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi. The protesters are demanding the removal of all allies of the former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country on January 14. They defied the curfew clamped outside the offices of the interim Prime Minister. The protesters are unhappy that many of Ben Ali’s allies are still ruling the country.
Ben Ali’s authoritarian rule since 1989 came to an end amid country-wide protests sparked by economic problems and political repression. Mr Ghannouchi helped to form an interim government promising to hold free elections within six months. Election date is not yet set.
Many people from rural areas camped outside the PM’s compound to continue protests. They threw stones and broke windows on Monday. The police fired tear gas to quell the protests. The protesters set fire to police cars and charged police lines after which the police barricaded the compound. Teachers and pupils decided to boycott schools that were set to begin from January 24.
The Tunisian unrest is feared to spread some other sensitive African countries such as Algeria and Yemen. Anti-government demonstrations are held in Algeria calling for greater freedoms. Similar protests are held in Yemen against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Authoritarian rulers in Africa are increasingly facing opposition from their people for last few years indicating the rise of political awareness among masses.