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Tunisia

Tunisian president removes minister following protests

Reuters

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali removed his communications minister on Wednesday in a cabinet reshuffle following violent protests. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced that Oussama Romdhani will be replaced at the communications ministry by Samir Abidi, the minister for youth and sport.

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The opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which does not have a seat in parliament, had earlier called for the sacking of Romdhani.

Ben Ali said on Tuesday he was concerned by recent tension in the Sidi Bouzid region, and that it was necessary to understand the root cause of the unrest, which has been linked to high youth unemployment rate.

A 26-year-old man who was selling fruit and vegetables on the streets doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire on 17 December after police confiscated his produce.

Four municipal police have been suspended in connection with the incident.

In clashes sparked by the confrontation, between mostly unemployed youths and government security forces, one protester died on 24 December.

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