Tunisian President Dissolves Government Amid Riots

12 killed in protests last night
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 14, 2011 11:09 AM CST
Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Tunis, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
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(Newser) – Amid huge riots over poverty, Tunisia’s president has decided to dismiss his government, the AP reports. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali intends to call legislative elections in 6 months, earlier than planned. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters calling for Ben Ali’s resignation continued to demonstrate in the capital, prompting police to fire tear gas and lash out with clubs. Twelve were killed in riots last night, NPR reports. Thousands of tourists have been evacuated.

Ben Ali has said he’ll quit, but not until 2014; and in a speech last night, he promised to stop using live ammunition against the demonstrators. But these pledges haven’t soothed protesters in the biggest riots since Ben Ali took power 23 years ago, notes the New York Times. Instead, they seemed invigorated by the pledge. Today’s demonstration was the first to include many women, very few of whom wore veils, the Times reports.

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