Clashes have broken out between security forces and demonstrators during an anti-government protest near the office of the interim Premier Mohammed Ghannouchi in the capital Tunis. Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:51AM
Reports say Police fired tear gas at protesters after they threw stone at security forces during the Monday protest in the North African country. Defying a state of emergency, thousands of protesters camped out in front of the office building on Sunday, calling for dissolving the Tunisian government and the resignation of Ghannouchi more than ten days after the ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country. Ghannouchi vowed in a televised speech on Saturday to quit his post after the upcoming election due in six months and put an end to his political career, but insisted that he should be there to guard the country through transition to democracy. Opposition politicians and human rights groups, however, called on the interim government to release all political prisoners. Despite the new government's repeated insistence that it has given a blanket amnesty to all political groups, including the banned Islamist opposition, protesters have complained that only a few hundred of those imprisoned for political reasons during Ben Ali's 23-year rule have been released. Tunisia's revolution, which led to the overthrow of Ben Ali, has greatly affected the North African nations and sparked similar protests across the region. On Saturday, hundreds of Egyptians gathered outside the Tunisian Embassy in the capital Cairo to show their solidarity with Tunisians and called for protests similar to those in Tunisia. Meanwhile, hundreds of Algerians defied a ban to stage protest rallies in the capital Algiers on Saturday amid fears that the Tunisian example might repeat itself in the neighboring country. Algerian protesters were confronted by dozens of police officers armed with batons and tear gas. The opposition, Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), says several people were arrested and injured as Algerian police broke up the demonstrations.