Tunisia

Rival protests in Tunis ahead of cabinet reshuffle

Tunisie TV / Reuters

Hundreds of people are rallying in favour of Tunisia’s interim government in the capital Tunis. But in another part of the city, thousands are demonstrating against the government.

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"Yes to the government of national unity!" and "No to a power vacuum!" the pro-government demonstrators chanted on the central Avenue Bourguiba. A crowd of anti-government protesters surrounded them.

People from impoverished central Tunisia, where anti-Ben Ali protets began, joined a separate demonstration calling for the government to go. A group of protesters prevented left-winger Moncef Marzouki from speaking and chased him off, calling him "an agent of the French and the Americans".

Unions in the second biggest city, Sfax, have called a general strike for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the government is preparing a cabinet reshuffle.

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The government's spokesperson said on Monday evening that at least six ministerial posts were being discussed and would be announced in the coming hours.

These include the five opposition ministers who walked out of the government a day after it was formed, as well as at least one other.

“Expectations are high,” says correspondent Léa-Lisa Westerhoff. “A lot of demonstrators are hoping that this might mean that more ministers who were in place under the previous administration of Ben Ali might leave.”

The United States says it hopes the Arab world will tackle reforms following the example of the Tunisian uprising.

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