Tunisia's president dissolves government
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Tunis, Tunisia (CNN) -- Tunisian's president dissolved the country's government as protesters and security forces clashed on the streets of the restive capital Friday, state TV and sources said. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who announced concessions to meet grievances of many of his fellow citizens the day before in a nationally televised TV address, made the move in an effort to restore stability to the North African country. Ben Ali also will call for parliamentary elections within six months, the reports said.
The government sacking comes a couple of days after the president dumped the interior minister and fired a couple of aides. Haykal Maki, a pro-opposition lawyer who was in the throng, said protesters want a "regime change," the resignation of Ben Ali, and lawsuits addressing the regime's corruption.
Tunisia has been wracked by angry demonstrations, with citizens -- angry with the government's performance -- protesting high unemployment, alleged corruption, rising prices, and a limitations on rights.
The wave of protests was sparked by the suicide of an unemployed college graduate, a man who torched himself in December after police confiscated his fruit cart, cutting off his source of income. In an address on national TV on Thursday night, Ben Ali addressed the crisis in a speech that came as street unrest percolated and a message purportedly from an al Qaeda affiliate announced its support of protesters.
He vowed to cut prices of basic foodstuffs, to lift censorship and to ensure police do not use live ammunition except in self-defense, and he indicated that he will not run again for president.
.......Ben Ali said he had asked the prime minister to reduce prices of staples, including sugar, milk and bread and said he had decided to give "complete freedom to all media outlets ... as long as they respect our values and the value of the profession."
The 74-year-old president added that he would not push to change the law setting an age limit for presidential candidates in the next election in 2014.
Reem Ben Yousef, a 37-year-old university professor, told CNN that the protesters say the ruling family has robbed citizens and they want them to depart from public life. Reem says that Ben Ali's speech was staged and was cynical about the presence of a pro-government demonstration after his speech.
"We do not believe in Ben Ali and his regime," she said.
read it all at http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/01/14/tunisia.protests/
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Arabic: زين العابدين بن علي Zayn al-‘Ābidīn bin ‘Alī; born 3 September 1936) is the dictatorial president of the Republic of Tunisia. He has held this office since 7 November 1987. He was appointed Prime Minister in October 1987, and assumed the Presidency in November 1987 in a bloodless coup d'etat from then President Habib Bourguiba who was declared incompetent . Ben Ali has since been re-elected with enormous majorities at every election, the last time being October 25, 2009 .
The regime he leads has been deemed authoritarian and undemocratic by independent international human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Freedom House, and Protection International. They have criticized Tunisian officials for not observing international standards of political rights and interfering with the work of local human rights organizations. In the The Economist's 2010 Democracy Index, Tunisia is classified as an authoritarian regime ranking 144th out of 167 countries studied. In 2008, in terms of freedom of the press, Tunisia was ranked 143 out of 173