News / Africa

Tunisia to Shake Up Cabinet as Protesters Clash

Protesters burn a photo of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali during a demonstration in Tunis, 24 Jan 2011
Protesters burn a photo of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali during a demonstration in Tunis, 24 Jan 2011

Tunisia's interim leaders say they will reshuffle the country's new government on Wednesday, as protesters demanding a purge of former loyalists clashed with fellow Tunisians urging an end to the demonstrations.

Government spokesman Taieb Baccouche said Tuesday the new cabinet mainly will fill posts vacated by five resignations over the past week, including three labor union representatives and one opposition leader.

A source close to the government told the French news agency the resignations will be filled by independent figures. But the government remains dominated by former members of deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's RCD party.

Hundreds rallied in the capital, Tunis, Tuesday in support of the interim government formed after Mr. Ben Ali's fall. They later clashed with a larger anti-government crowd calling for a clean break with the old regime. No injuries were reported.

Also Tuesday, the Reuters news agency said soldiers fired in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters in the central city of Gefsa demanding better economic opportunities - the first time the army has intervened since Mr. Ben Ali's departure on January 14. Reuters cited witnesses in Gefsa as saying that a young man set himself on fire following the army's intervention, suffering severe burns.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said Tuesday he fears the Tunisian revolution is being exploited by "foreign interests." Mr. Gadhafi voiced support for the revolution, in stark contrast to earlier comments in which he praised Tunisia's ousted leader, saying he regretted Mr. Ben Ali's fall.

Also Tuesday, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, said that only free and fair elections will strengthen and give credibility to the north African state's embattled leadership. Feltman, who arrived in Tunis Monday, is the first foreign official to visit the country after the former president's ouster.

Tunisian officials said Monday they are negotiating the formation of a supervisory council to oversee the country's interim government, in an effort to appease the protesters.

Sources involved in the discussions said the proposed council would issue an electoral code and hold elections for a new parliament that would rewrite the constitution.

Officials say the oversight body will include Tunisia's powerful labor union, the bar association, civil groups and political parties - including the country's largest Islamist group, Al Nahda, which was banned under Mr. Ben Ali.

Earlier, Tunisia's army chief, General Rashid Ammar, warned that a "power vacuum" could bring back the dictatorship, as pressure continues to mount on the interim government.

Mr. Ben Ali fled the North African country amid an eruption of unrest over unemployment, rising prices and corrupt rule. The government has said at least 78 people have been killed in the violence.  U.N. officials say the death toll may be as high as 100.

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

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid