Tunisian president fires government

January 15, 2011 - 0:0

The Tunisian president has fired the country's government and called for fresh legislative elections within six months amid violent clashes between protesters and security forces, state media has reported.

Friday's move comes after almost a month of unrest in the North African country over unemployment and high prices.
The latest development came as police fired tear gas at protesters outside the interior ministry in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.
“We heard shots, I believe they were shooting in the air but for sure they were shooting
[tear] gas bombs, and they are trying to disperse and spread people,” Youssef Gaigi, an activist at the scene, told Al Jazeera.
The protesters are seeking the immediate resignation of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the president, and are refusing to disperse until he steps down.
In a sign of a deepening political stand-off in the North African nation, increasingly being referred to on social media platforms as the “Jasmine Revolution”, thousands of protesters converged in front of the interior ministry building on Friday, chanting slogans such as “Ben Ali, leave!” and “Ben Ali, thank you but that's enough!”.
The fresh protests came a day after Ben Ali offered sweeping concessions in an attempt to end the wave of dissent sweeping the country.
In a televised address on Thursday night, Ben Ali, who has been in power since 1987, vowed not to seek re-election in 2014. He also promised to institute widespread reforms, introduce more freedoms into society, and to investigate the killings of protesters during demonstrations that have spread throughout the country over the past month.
Kamel Morjane, the foreign minister, said on Friday that Ben Ali is prepared to hold new legislative elections before the 2014 poll. Nevertheless, unions planned to hold a general strike in Tunis and some other regions on Friday.
The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights has tallied 66 deaths since the protests began after a 26-year-old unemployed university graduate set himself on fire in protest in the town of Sidi Bouzid on December 17.
Sources told Al Jazeera on Thursday that at least 13 people had been killed in the past two days alone.
9Source: Al Jazeera)
Photo1: Men burn a picture of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as they demonstrate against Ben Ali on January 11, 2011 in Paris. Photo2: Tunisian man shouts slogans during a demonstration in front the Interior ministry in Habib Bourguiba avenue in Tunis after Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's address to the nation on January 14, 2011.
Photo3: People demonstrate on January 13, 2011 in Paris, to protest against the repression against demonstrators in Tunisia.