Riots in Tunis
Photo: AP
Tunisia: Protests against interim leader
After President Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia, demonstrations held against interim leader Mohammed Ghannouchi; protesters ransack government buildings in capital

Protests were held in a number of cities in south Tunisia against Mohammed Ghannouchi, who replaced ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Al-Jazeera reported Saturday.


The Arab news network also reported of protesters ransacking government buildings in the capital, Tunis, and throughout other provinces.


In addition, the Tunisian capital's main train station was burned to the ground, and shops were ransacked and looted.


Demonstrations against interim leader Ghannouchi, an associate of Ben Ali, were held in Kasserine and other cities.


According to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, ahead of his escape Ben Ali apparently transferred significant state funds from European banks to banks in Asia and Morocco.


French media, citing government sources, said President Nicolas Sarkozy refused to give Ben Ali permission to enter France. Both LCI and i-Tele television did not give further details.


Ben Ami and his family fled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia instead.


Analysts in the Arab world estimate that the unrest in Tunisia over poverty, unemployment and repression may spill over to neighboring countries such as Morocco and Algeria, adding that videos and pictures posted on Facebook and other online networks played a major role in the ousting of Ben Ali.


Tunis, Friday (Photo: Reuters)


Tunisian media reported that dozens of people arrived at the Tunisian embassies in Jordan and Egypt to celebrate the anti-government protests that ousted Ben Ali after 23 years in power.


Dozens of people have died in clashes with Tunisian security forces.


Ghannouchi, 69, an economist and long-time ally of Ben Ali, has served as prime minister of Tunisia since 1999.


Reuters, AP contributed to the report



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