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Hundreds rally in Tunis against Ben Ali party

Demonstrations and riots swept Tunisian cities Monday calling for a total boycott of the ruling RDC party

AFP, Monday 17 Jan 2011
Tunisia
Hundreds of Tunisians take the street to protest against Ben Ali party
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Hundreds of people rallied in central Tunis Monday to demand the abolition of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally (RDC) as police fired tear gas to break up the protest.

"We don't want anyone from the old party in the new government. That includes the prime minister," one protester told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi was a close ally of Ben Ali and held talks with opposition parties on Sunday to form a national unity government that is due to be unveiled on Monday.

The opposition said members of the previous government are set to remain in their posts.

Any public gatherings are banned under a state of emergency declared by Ben Ali on Friday just before he resigned and fled to Saudi Arabia.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to disperse the rally and prevent protesters from marching on the headquarters of the RDC.

"With our blood and our soul we are ready to sacrifice ourselves for the martyrs," they chanted, referring to the dozens reported killed in a wave of protests that led to Ben Ali's downfall after 23 years in power.

There was another rally in Sidi Bouzid, a city in central Tunisia that was at the heart of the protests that erupted against Ben Ali's regime mid-December. Demonstrators there chanted: "Bread and water and no RDC!"

A rally was also held in Regueb, a town near Sidi Bouzid.

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