Tunisians in Canada hail President Ben Ali departure

AFP, Friday 14 Jan 2011

Tunisian groups in Montreal, who had marched in protest of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's government, on Friday hailed his hasty resignation


"We are happy that in less than two months, through an all-out effort notably involving young people, we've managed to force Ben Ali out of office and see the beginning of the establishment of democracy," Sonia Djelidi, an organizer of one of the Tunisian groups, told AFP.

EarlierTunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali quit after 23 years in power and fled the north African state as the authorities declared a state of emergency following deadly protests.

"But he will now have to officially resign," she added, after Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announced on state television that he had taken over as interim president.

"We regret that Mohamed Bouazizi and the other martyrs could not see it. But our protest planned for Saturday (outside the Tunisian consulate in Montreal) will be transformed into a celebration."

Mohamed Bouazizi died in hospital last week in the central Sidi Bouzid area.

The rare wave of protests in tightly controlled Tunisia was unleashed by the December 17 suicide attempt of the 26-year-old graduate who set himself on fire after police prevented him from selling fruit and vegetables to make a living.

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