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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid