News / Africa

Tunisia Protests Call for Ruling Party to Leave Government

A tank guards the center of Tunis, 16 Jan. 2011. Tunisia sped toward a new future after its iron-fisted leader fled, with an interim president sworn in and ordering the country's first multiparty government to be formed.
A tank guards the center of Tunis, 16 Jan. 2011. Tunisia sped toward a new future after its iron-fisted leader fled, with an interim president sworn in and ordering the country's first multiparty government to be formed.

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Lisa Bryant

More protests rocked the North African country of Tunisia as the prime minister prepared to name an interim government.

Even before the names of the interim government were announced, Tunisians were on the streets calling for its ouster.  The protesters chanting, "Go people, out with the dictatorship!" calling for the ruling RDC Party of ex-president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali to leave.

Protesters chanted on the main Habib Bourguiba Boulevard in front of riot police and soldiers manning tanks, their guns at the ready. There were sounds of gunfire and helicopters flying overhead for a fourth day in a row.

Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, a vestige of the old government, is expected to name an interim Cabinet to take charge until elections, promised within two months. According to reports, a few members of the opposition are to be included, but will not occupy key portfolios such as the foreign or interior ministries.

Protesters like 23-year-old Alem want all the old guard out.

"The government should be another form, not this form. It should be a saving government" Alem said.

The protesters include people of all ages, like 46-year-old Lamia who worked at the Tunisian Finance Ministry, which was closed following the weekend riots and protests.

Lamia said Tunisians did not stage weeks of riots and protests aimed to oust the old regime just to see it back again in the new interim government. She does not believe the country is ready for elections in two months. She thinks it will take at least a year to establish a real democracy.

A number of analysts and political activists have voiced the same opinion.

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