Rioting in Tunisian capital

Mass protests calling for President Ben Ali to step down

People have taken to the streets of Tunis to demand that President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali step down, amid calls to end unemployment, corruption and high food prices. Overnight clashes with police have left 13 people dead, bringing the total to 60 since protests began four weeks ago. The unrest began when an unemployed man immolated himself after police tried to stop him for selling vegetables without a permit. Ben Ali, 74, announced that he will step down in 2014, but protesters are calling for his immediate resignation. Ben Ali, re-elected in 2009 with 89.63 per cent of the vote, is Tunisia’s second president since independence in 1956. In an attempt to quell the protests, Ben Ali has promised that he will end internet censorship and lower food prices, while calling on police to show restraint. Other demonstrations have started up in other Tunisian cities, and tourists have been advised to leave the country.

BBC News

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