Tunisia minister fired, protesters freed: Prime Minister
Tunisia: Tunisia sacked its interior
minister and released those arrested in protests over
unemployment that have rocked the country since mid-December,
the prime minister said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi told a press
conference that interior minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem had been
Kacem was responsible for the police force, which has
been widely criticised for its ruthless response to the
protests. The government said 21 people had been killed in the
unrest, but labour unions and rights groups said more than 50
were killed over the weekend.
The prime minister gave no figure for the number of
people arrested during the protests but said all had been
Ghannouchi also said allegations by opposition and
non-government groups into corruption would be investigated by
a special commission.
Deadly protests over unemployment escalated at the
weekend, with security forces opening fire on demonstrators.