Entries in Mohammed Ghannouchi (1)


Tunisia: Thousands Hit Streets to Protest Unemployment, Corruption

Photo Courtesy - FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- Tunisia has been rocked by protests that have apparently forced longtime leader Zine Al Abedine Ben Ali to step down. There are unconfirmed reports by state media that he has fled the country, and the nation's prime minister said he is now in control.

Rioters took to the streets protesting unemployment and rising food prices. The situation escalated into chaos. Police clashed with rioters, some of whom climbed the walls of the Interior Ministry, reportedly the site of torture for years.

Reading a statement on television, Tunisia's prime minister, Mohammed Ghannouchi, announced he would take over the position of president as Ben Ali "cannot practice his authorities."

The government reports at least 23 people have been killed in the rioting, but opposition members said the death toll could be triple that. On Friday, Air France, one of the main airlines serving the country, said it suspended flights to Tunisia following the closure of its airspace.

The whistleblower Web site WikiLeaks is credited with stirring the anger of the Tunisian people. Users of Facebook and other social networking sites spread comments about U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks which described corruption in Tunisia, and called the country a "police state."

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