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Hundreds of protesters have marched in Tunis, demanding that allies of the ousted president stop clinging to power.
Hundreds of protesters marched down the main street of Tunisia's capital on Wednesday, demanding that allies of the ousted president stop clinging to power.
Demonstrators are angry that the country's new unity government, announced Monday, contains several ministers from the former ruling party.
A popular uprising ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Friday after 23 years in power.
The caretaker government, run by his longtime prime minister, Mohammed Ghannouchi, and including members of the opposition, is now struggling to calm tensions in a country that is popular with European tourists to the Mediterranean Sea region and also seen as an ally in the West's fight against terrorism.
A spokesman for the embattled prime minister said the new multiparty cabinet was debating whether to hold its first meeting Wednesday or Thursday, after four new ministers resigned within 24 hours.
The ministers, from the Democratic Forum for Labor and Unity (FDLT) party, refused to sit in a cabinet that contained eight high-ranking members of Ben Ali's government, which many Tunisians see as corrupt.
Ghannouchi has said that the Ben Ali era ministers, including the defense and interior ministers, remained in office "to preserve the national interest."
"They kept their posts because we need them at this time," Ghannouchi said on French radio, Al Jazeera reported. "All of them have clean hands."
The FDLT has demanded the government be dissolved and it called for Wednesday's protests in the streets of Tunis, the capital.
About 500 protesters assembled on Bourguiba Avenue in the center of the city.
"This will continue every day until we get rid of the ruling party," Faydi Borni, a teacher, told Reuters. "We got rid of the dictator but not the dictatorship. We want rid of this government that shut us up for 30 years."
Many are wondering whether the example set by Tunisians will spread to topple other dictatorships in the Middle East. In recent weeks, similar small protests have erupted in Algeria, Jordan and Egypt — where people, as in Tunisia, are fed up over rising food prices, unemployment and government corruption. But security forces in those countries are far more likely to use violence to suppress dissent than was used in Tunisia, according to Mohamad Bazzi, writing in GlobalPost.
Morocco, meantime, has high levels of unemployment and poverty, butfew analysts expect a revolt there, owing to its political stability — derived from the uniting symbol of the king, Mohammed VI, who has been in power since 1999 and worked hard to modernize and develop the country.
One thing is clear from the “Tunisian example,” Bazzi writes: People in the Middle East have given up any hope that the United States can be a force for democratic change.
"As the uprising spread in Tunisia, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama stayed largely silent until the day Ben Ali fled," he wrote. "That was when Obama issued a statement condemning the use of violence against peaceful protesters and applauding “the courage and dignity” of Tunisians. By then, it was too late: The U.S.-backed dictator was gone, and the Arab world chalked up another example of how Washington favors stability over democracy."