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February 28, 2011

More Resignations From Tunisia's Interim Government

Two more Cabinet ministers, including a prominent opposition party leader, have resigned from Tunisia's interim unity government following weeks of protests against the caretaker administration.

Ahmed Nejib Chebbi,  founder of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, announced his departure Tuesday from the job of local development minister.  He expressed dissatisfaction with the direction of the interim government. Chebbi and other opposition figures joined the interim government following the January ouster of longtime President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali as part of efforts to move the country toward democracy.

Higher education minister Ahmed Ibrahim also quit the government Tuesday.  He heads the Ettajdid opposition party.  On Monday, Tunisia's official news agency announced the departures of the planning and technology ministers.

Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned on Sunday, a day after clashes at anti-government demonstrations left at least three people dead.  Demonstrators have criticized the make-up of the interim government, saying it is too close to the former government of Mr. Ben Ali.

Also Tuesday, the human rights group Amnesty International called on Tunisia's interim government to investigate incidences of violence and make sure those responsible are held accountable.  

An Amnesty International report on the revolt found that security forces shot fleeing protesters and fired ammunition at bystanders.

The director of the group's Middle East and North Africa program Malcolm Smart said Tuesday that Tunisian security forces acted with "reckless disregard for human life" in many cases.  He added that the interim government must provide victims with "justice and reparation.".

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

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