More anti-government protests in Tunisia

Anti-government protests hit Tunisia for a second day running on Sunday.

Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 23:45 PM IST

Tunis: Anti-government protests hit
Tunisia for a second day running on Sunday, with around 4,000
demonstrators gathering in central Tunis to demand the
resignation of Mohamed Ghannouchi`s transitional government.

Many waved Tunisian flags and banners proclaiming:

"Resignation of the prime minister, Constituent Assembly,
Parliamentary System" or "Tunisia is ours and not to others.
No to French interference."

One demonstrator climbed atop a lamp post and urged
the crowd to chant: "The people want to bring the government

No incidents were reported but police helicopters
circled overhead as the demonstrators answered a call to
protest on Facebook.

Yesterday, hundreds of Tunisians had marched to
demand a secular state following the murder of a Polish
priest, verbal attacks on Jews and an attempt by Islamists to
set fire to a brothel.

Ghannouchi was prime minister under deposed
president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from 1999 until Ben Ali was
ousted in a popular revolt on January 14.

"We are against Ghannouchi`s government because our
revolution has led to nothing with Ghannouchi, this is Ben
Ali`s team and it has changed nothing," teacher Samia
Mahfoudh, 50, said at today`s rally. "It`s a bluff."

"They are taking us for fools. All the members of
the government and the regional councils have been elected by
the former regime, the constitution has been reformed by the
former regime. The RCD wants to sow terror," said another
protestor, Sami Ben Moumen, referring to the officially
suspended former ruling party.

On January 17, Ghannouchi took the reins of a
transitional government of national unity, which included many
ministers who were part of the old regime.

The authorities have appointed a panel to prepare
free elections due in six months while several opposition
parties have demanded the election of a constituent assembly
to write a new constitution.

Yesterday, demonstrators gathered in the main
Avenue Bourguiba in Tunis waving placards reading "Secularism
= Freedom and Tolerance" and "Stop Extremist Acts".

The murder of 34-year-old priest Marek Rybinski,
found dead Friday with his throat slit in the garage of a
private religious school at Manouba near the capital, was the
first of a foreigner or priest since Ben Ali was toppled.

The priest`s body was found as hundreds of
Islamists rallied in Tunis Friday calling for the closure of
brothels in the city. A march on a street housing one of the
best-known brothels was thwarted by police.

Anti-Jewish slogans were shouted outside the main
Tunis synagogue earlier this month.