Escalating unrest in Tunis causes Tunisian president to flee

Ben Ali

President Ben Ali, President of Tunisia, has fled from the capital city of Tunis amid growing unrest. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the president of Tunisia, has fled the capital of Tunis amid growing unrest in the African nation. Protests over rising costs of essential goods, high unemployment and corruption have made the capital unstable. The Prime Minister has assumed emergency control.

President Ben Ali flees Tunis amid growing unrest

Frustrated Tunisians have been taking to the streets of Tunis in droves to protest failures of the government and President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who has occupied the office since 1987. Tunisians are increasingly frustrated over prices of essential goods such as grain and sugar prices, as well as high unemployment, rights abuses and government corruption, according to CNN. President Ben Ali had directed Tunisian security forces not to use live ammunition in dealing with protesters unless absolutely necessary as a concession to demonstrators. This was not enough, and he was forced to order the government to dissolve. Ben Ali has fled the North African nation, and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi has assumed control of the country.

Emergency rule imposed

Prime Minister Ghannouchi assumed emergency control of Tunisia and has vowed to fight runaway inflation, according to al-Jazeera. He has pledged to respect laws and carry out reforms to combat high inflation and unemployment. Meanwhile, the Tunisian army has reportedly cordoned off the main airport in Tunis and closed the country’s airspace. Gatherings of three or more people in the streets have been banned. President Ben Ali had attempted to placate demonstrators by lowering food prices, but no concessions were sufficient as Tunisians had apparently had enough after 27 years of Ben Ali in the presidency.

Nearly a month of protests

Tunisia has been growing increasingly unstable after nearly a month of constant protests and demonstrations in the streets of Tunis. It began with the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, a college-educated street vendor who had been selling fruit from a cart to make ends meet. His cart had been seized by authorities, and he set himself on fire in protest.

Sources

CNN

Al Jazeera

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