Hundreds of Tunisian protesters demonstrated outside the prime minister’s office today to demand the removal of members of the ousted president’s regime still in the government.
The rally in Tunis was taking place a day after authorities fired tear gas at protesters in the same area, and some demonstrators shattered the windows of police cars.
Many people bundled up in blankets slept outside near the prime minister’s office overnight, in defiance of a curfew initiated in response to unrest which forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee Tunisia on January 14.
Tunisia’s so-called “Jasmine Revolution” has sparked scattered protests and civil disobedience in the Middle East and North Africa, and much of the world is watching to see how the birth pangs of Tunisian democracy play out.
Meanwhile thousands of Egyptian security forces were deploying across Cairo today ahead of the country’s first Tunisian-inspired protests.
Egypt’s top security official has warned that no disturbances will be tolerated.
The protest organisers and opposition supporters – inspired by the popular revolt in Tunisia – have dubbed today’s rallies, which are planned mainly in Cairo and Alexandria, as “the day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment”.
The rally call spread on Facebook and Twitter, with 90,000 saying they would attend.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International expressed fears for protesters’ safety, urging authorities to “refrain from excessive and disproportionate force”.
Interior Minister Habib el-Adly said “decisive measures” would be imposed in the face of chaos.