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March 29, 2023

Tunisia police fire tear gas at protesters

TUNIS – Tunisian police have fired tear gas at protesters who were demanding the removal of all allies of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, BBC reports.

The protesters had defied an overnight curfew to gather outside the offices of Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi (photo) – one of the men they want to quit. Meanwhile, two politicians close to Mr Ben Ali have been detained.

Former adviser Abdelaziz bin Dhia and ex-Interior Minister Abdallah Qallal are under house arrest, reports say.

Mr Ghannouchi has pledged to quit after elections, which are expected within six months.

Protesters have been demonstrating outside his offices for several days – largely tolerated by police. But on Sunday night, hundreds of people – many from rural areas of the country – arrived to continue their protest camped outside his compound. Witnesses said the protesters threw stones and smashed windows on Monday morning, prompting the police to fire tear gas.

Mr. Ben Ali, the country’s authoritarian ruler since 1989, was forced from power on 14 January amid country-wide protests sparked by economic problems.

Dozens of protesters were killed in the unrest, and the authorities have promised to investigate the deaths of protesters.

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