Protesters fill streets in Tunis

TUNIS, Tunisia, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Tunisia's prime minister named three opposition leaders to the interim unity government Monday as new street protests erupted.

Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi appointed Najib Chebbi, Ahmed Ibrahim and Mustafa Ben Jaafar to the Cabinet while keeping the incumbent ministers of the interior, finance, foreign affairs and defense, France 24 reported.


Meanwhile, new protests rose up in the streets of Tunis, police said.

Police used a water cannon to disperse protesters calling for the Constitutional Democratic Rally, the party of ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, to relinquish its power, the BBC reported Monday.

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The country has been in a state of emergency since Ben Ali was ousted Friday.

Ghannouchi said an agreement among political parties would be announced soon. He pledged to fill the power void after being asked to form a government by interim President Foued Mebazaa, the former parliamentary speaker.

Ben Ali, who had been in power for 23 years, fled to Saudi Arabia Friday after a month of protests across Tunisia over unemployment, food-price increases and corruption.

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Demonstrations gained strength in December after the death of an unemployed man who set himself on fire to protest the lack of jobs in the country. Several similar incidents have been reported in other African countries but the motivations were not clear, the BBC said.


British tour operators continued their emergency evacuation of vacationers in Tunis Monday, the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported. The British Foreign Office said between 1,000 and 1,500 expatriates, independent travelers and small tour groups were still in the African republic.

The Foreign Office has urged Britons "to leave Tunisia unless they have a pressing need to remain."

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