Minister follows PM in resigning from Tunisia govt

AP News
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Posted: Feb 28, 2011 4:22 PM
Minister follows PM in resigning from Tunisia govt

Another minister in Tunisia's caretaker government has resigned, a day after the prime minister bowed out following a wave of deadly protests.

Industry and Technology Minister Afif Chelbi presented his resignation Monday.

Mohamed Ghannouchi quit Sunday after 11 years as prime minister.

Outside parliament, youths joined large police patrols to help keep the peace in Tunisia's tense capital after a weekend of protests and clashes with riot police left at least six people dead, opposition leaders said.

Tunis saw no new major demonstrations Monday.

In nearby Ben Arous, an industrial zone, authorities suspended public schools following weekend violence, the official TAP news agency reported. One person was killed while pillaging stores and several "delinquents" were arrested, the agency said.

Ghannouchi had survived for more than a month despite long-standing ties to Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the autocratic leader pushed into exile Jan. 14 as demonstrations swept the nation. He is succeeded by Beji Caid Essebsi, 84-years old, who held numerous posts under founding president, Habib Bourghiba, ousted in a palace coup in 1987 by Ben Ali.

The interim government is laying the groundwork for presidential and parliamentary elections expected in about five months.

Interim authorities say "agitators" are trying to derail Tunisia's moves toward democracy after the protests brought down Ben Ali sparked uprisings across the Arab world.