Video: Tension rife as Tunisia swears in interim leader

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    >>> and violence in tunisia as that country in north africa swore in a new interim president. the long time leader was driven from power and fled to saudi arabia . today john ray of ourityn partner is in the capital tunis.

    >> reporter: if anyone is in control of tunisia tonight and it's a big if, it's the army. military helicopters are buzzing overhead. they're protecting government buildings and blocking off the main thoroughfares. but still these are dangerous and tense moments. after the chaos, the fragile calm in the capital imposed by the military but the dangers remain great with reports of squads of men firing at random from passing cars. they are believed to be supporters of the president who has fled the country. there has been widespread looting and some shop keepers have armed themselves with knives to protect their property. state television showed pictures of men arrested for raiding stores. they were forced to kneel in the streets and the weapons some were allegedly carrying were displayed for the camera. overnight police and troops were still rounding up people on the streets. one man was dragged away. it's not clear whether these were protesters or looters. amid all the tension, a jail in the holiday resort was set afire and dozens of inmates killed. tunisia now has an interim president and talks aimed at forming a coalition government that started with opposition leaders. but with troops on the streets and so much unrest still in the air, it may not be enough to end the wave of protests. the problem is many involved in drawing up the new reforms are the very same people closely associated, indeed, part of the old reviled regime. as far as the protesters are concerned they achieved what many thought was impossible, the ousting of pred ben ali . they i think will be in no mood for compromise. back to you, lester.

    >> john ray in tunisia tonight.

Image: Blazing supermarket in Birzerte, Tunisia
Hassene Dridi  /  AP
A supermarket in Bizerte, Tunisia, burns after it was sacked and looted on Saturday.
updated 1/16/2011 1:46:51 AM ET 2011-01-16T06:46:51

Looting, deadly prison riots and street chaos engulfed Tunisia on Saturday, a day after mass protests forced its strongman to flee. A new interim president was sworn in, promising to create a unity government that could include the long-ignored opposition.

It was the second change of power in this North African nation in less than 24 hours.

Saturday night appeared calmer than the previous night, which saw looters empty shops and torch the capital's main train station as well as some shops. As military helicopters patrolled overhead, residents in some neighborhoods armed themselves with sticks and clubs, forming impromptu militias to protect their homes.

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Saturday also saw soldiers trade fire with assailants in front of the Interior Ministry, while thousands of European tourists scrambled to find flights home.

The death toll mounted. At least 42 people were killed Saturday in a prison fire in one resort town and the director of another prison in another tourist haven let 1,000 inmates flee after soldiers shot five dead amid a rebellion. Those deaths came on top of scores of others after a month of protests in which police often fired upon demonstrators.

After 23 years of autocratic rule, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali abruptly fled the country Friday for Saudi Arabia following mass street protests over corruption, a lack of jobs and clampdowns on civil liberties.

The leadership changes then came at a dizzying speed.

Ben Ali's longtime ally, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, stepped in briefly with a vague assumption of power that left open the possibility that Ben Ali could return. But on Saturday, the head of the Constitutional Council declared the president's departure permanent and gave Fouad Mebazaa, leader of the lower house of parliament, 60 days to organize new elections.

Hours later, Mebazaa was sworn in.

In his first televised address, the interim president asked the premier to form a "national unity government in the country's best interests" in which all political parties will be consulted "without exception nor exclusion."

The move was one of reconciliation, but it was not clear how far the 77-year-old Mebazaa, who has been part of Tunisia's ruling class for decades, would truly go to work with the opposition. It was also unclear who would emerge as the country's top political leaders, since Ben Ali utterly dominated politics, placing allies in power and sending opponents into jail or exile.

On the streets, the unrest was frightening.

A fire Saturday at a prison in the Mediterranean coastal resort of Monastir killed 42 people, coroner Tarek Mghirbi told The Associated Press. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

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In Mahdia, further down the coast, inmates set fire to their mattresses in protest. Soldiers opened fire, killing five inmates, top local official said. The director of the prison then let about 1,000 other inmates flee the prison to avoid further bloodshed, the official said, asking not to be identified because of security concerns.

In front of the Interior Ministry in Tunis, the capital, security forces and unidentified assailants had a shootout Saturday that left two bodies on the ground.

Sporadic gunfire echoed around the capital and looters were out in force. Black smoke billowed over a giant supermarket in Ariana, north of the capital, as it was torched and emptied. Soldiers fired warning shots in vain to try to stop the looters, and shops near the main bazaar were also attacked.

Some rioters appeared to be targeting businesses owned by members of Ben Ali's family, which had financial interests in a wide range of sectors, from banking to car dealerships. In Tunis, a branch of the Zeitouna bank founded by Ben Ali's son-in-law was torched, as were vehicles made by Kia, Fiat and Porsche — carmakers distributed in Tunisia by members of the ruling family.

Citizens set up barricades
With many shops, markets and bakeries in the capital shuttered Saturday, some residents expressed growing worry about getting basic goods, like bread.

Residents of some Tunis neighborhoods set up barricades and organized overnight patrols to deter rioters. In the tony El Menzah neighborhood, dozens of men and boys armed with baseball bats and clubs were taking turns on patrol — just as a broadcast on Tunisian television had urged citizens to do.

Public television station TV7 — now known as Tunisian National Television — broadcast phone calls from residents on the capital's outskirts, describing attacks by knife-wielding assailants.

Rumors fed off the instability, and some citizens speculated the marauding gangs were made up of Ben Ali loyalists bent on sewing chaos in the country.

As a protective measure, helicopters with spotlights circled the capital Saturday night, and residents reported hearing some shots — but fewer than on Friday evening, they said.

"This isn't good at all. I'm very afraid for the kids and myself," said Lilia Ben Romdhan, a mother of three in outer Tunis. "If (Ben Ali) had stayed in the country it would be better."

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Kamel Fdela, selling oranges and bananas in the same neighborhood, said he wanted democracy but was not sure that would happen. He also feared food shortages, with so many stores closed and others looted.

"God willing, a real man will take over," he said.

Tunisian airspace reopened Saturday, but some flights were canceled and others left with delays. Thousands of tourists were still being evacuated from the Mediterranean nation known for its sandy beaches, desert landscapes and ancient ruins.

"It was quite scary but I was never in fear for my life," said Mary Grist, a retiree who arrived Saturday at Britain's Manchester Airport from Tunisia. "What we have seen is the aftermath, burned-out petrol stations and the army lining the streets with their guns."

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A Paris-based photographer, Lucas Mebrouk Dolega of the EPA photo agency, was in critical condition Saturday after being hit in the face by a tear gas canister.

Tunisians abroad celebrated Ben Ali's ouster.

Thousands of messages congratulating the Tunisian people flooded the Internet on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Hundreds demonstrated Saturday afternoon in Brussels, demanding that Ben Ali be brought to justice. One banner read "Ben Ali has to pay for his crimes."

Solidarity in Paris
Another 8,000 people marched in Paris to express support for Tunisia's people, waving Tunisian flags and carrying cardboard coffins to honor those killed. They hailed the "Jasmine Revolution," referring to the scented flower that is omnipresent in Tunisia.

"I went to the march to celebrate but also to express my solidarity with the Tunisian people, who have suffered so much," said Paris marcher Ghazi Zouari, a 42-year-old Tunisian who has lived in France for decades. "It was a celebration, but tinged with fear, because the situation on the ground is so unstable."

Saudi King Abdullah's palace confirmed that the ousted president and some family members had landed in Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom welcomed him with a wish for "peace and security to return to the people of Tunisia."

Slideshow: State of emergency in Tunisia (on this page)

A source inside the kingdom who spoke on condition of anonymity said Ben Ali was in the small city of Abha, about 310 miles south of Jeddah.

The French government, meanwhile, said other members of Ben Ali's family were "not welcome" in the former colonial ruler and were planning to leave.

Ben Ali's downfall sent a warning to other autocratic leaders across the Arab world, especially because he did not seem especially vulnerable until the very end and managed his country of 10 million better than many other Middle Eastern nations.

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He turned Tunisia into a beach haven for European tourists, an area of stability in volatile North Africa. Residents had a lack of civil rights and little freedom of speech, but a better quality of life than in neighboring Algeria or Libya.

Ben Ali presided over reforms to make the economy more competitive and growth last year was 3.1 percent. Unemployment, however, was officially 14 percent but believed to be far higher among the young.

Suicide started riots
The riots started after an educated but jobless 26-year-old committed suicide in mid-December when police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he was selling without a permit. His desperate act hit a nerve, sparked copycat suicides and focused anger against the regime into a widespread revolt.

In Egypt, human rights activist Hossam Bahgat said he was glued to the news watching the fall of the Tunisian government and hoped that his countrymen could do the same someday.

"I feel like we are a giant step closer to our own liberation," he told the AP. "What's significant about Tunisia is that literally days ago the regime seemed unshakable, and then eventually democracy prevailed without a single Western state lifting a finger."

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: State of emergency

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  1. A Tunisian soldier talks with a woman during the sanitary service clean out in the Kasbah district after Tunisian inhabitants of Sidi Bouzid and protesters were evacuated following clashes with security forces in front of the government palace on Saturday, Jan. 29 in Tunis. Riot police and hundreds of protesters clashed in the Tunisian capital on January 28, 2011, as a new cabinet was sworn into office in a bid to end the unrest that has followed president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ouster. Security forces fired warning shots and tear gas, as some groups threw stones in the main government quarter where protesters have remained camped out in front of Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi's offices for five days. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Tunisian sanitary service workers clean out a street in the Kasbah district on Jan. 29. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Tunisian protesters run away during clashes with riot police outside the prime minister's office in Tunis on Friday, Jan. 28. Tunisian security forces chased groups of protesters through central Tunis after dispersing hundreds of rural demonstrators holding a 24-hour sit-in outside government offices. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Tunisian riot police use their shields for cover during clashes with demonstrators after they stormed a protest camp outside the prime minister's office in Tunis on Jan. 28. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A man reads a newspaper with a story about the new ministers that have been put in the Tunisian government, at a street kiosk in downtown Tunis on Jan. 28. The Tunisian government ditched loyalists to its ousted president on Thursday -- a move which won backing from the powerful labor union and could help defuse protests. (Louafi Larbi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Tunisian students are blocked by security forces as they demonstrate in front of the Justice ministry in Tunis on January 27. Thousands took to the streets of Tunisia to call for old regime politicians to be ousted after the fall of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, as the cabinet prepared a reshuffle. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Tunisian protesters pull away barbed wire to let through the protesters on the other side of the police barricade near government offices in the Kasbah, the old city of Tunis, Jan. 27. Police blocked several roads leading up to the Kasbah in the Tunisian capital Tunis on Jan. 27 after a day of violent clashes on Jan. 26 between demonstrators and security forces who fired tear gas and left several people injured. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A protester from Tunisia's marginalised rural heartlands chants slogans during a demonstration outside the prime minister's office in Tunis, Jan. 27. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Protesters help municipality workers clear up piles of rubbish on the streets left behind by fellow protesters who spent the night outside the prime minister's office in the Kasbah, the old city of Tunis Jan. 27. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Policemen try to calm down a pro-government protester as he shouts towards anti-government protesters during a demonstration in central Tunis on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Hundreds of Tunisians rallied on Tuesday in support of the interim government formed after the ousting of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, but later clashed with protesters demanding a purge of former regime loyalists. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A man cuts himself with scissors as he protests outside the once feared Tunisian Interior Ministry. The man was placated by citizens and suffered no serious injuries on Jan. 25, in Tunis, Tunisia. (Christopher Furlong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A boy hangs from the door as he shouts slogans during an anti-government demonstration in central Tunis on Jan. 25. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Inhabitants of the central Tunisia region of Sidi Bouzid chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the Government palace in Tunis on Jan. 23. The protesters came from a poverty-stricken rural region where the crackdown against protesters in the final days of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year regime was at its harshest. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Protesters who marched from the rural areas of Tunisia as part as the 'Liberation Caravan' take a rest outside the prime minister's office on Jan. 23, in Tunis, Tunisia. (Christopher Furlong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Tunisians light candles during a nighttime vigil in downtown Tunis, Jan. 22. Protesters in Tunisia, emboldened by their overthrow of the president a week ago, took to the streets Saturday to try and force out his lieutenants, whom they accuse of clinging to power in the face of popular anger. (Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Tunisian soldiers stand guard near the Prime Minister's office during a demonstration in Tunis, Jan. 22. Tunisia's interim prime minister promised to quit politics after the elections, a pledge intended to appease protesters demanding remnants of the old guard leave a unity coalition formed after the overthrow of the president. (Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Police officers celebrate as they demonstrate in Tunis, Saturday, Jan. 22. Tunisia's once-feared police who carried out the repressive policies of their now exiled president are joining hands with protesters who brought down the dictator. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A protester gestures in front of the headquarters of the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party of ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali during a demonstration in downtown Tunis on Jan. 20, 2011. (Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. People demonstrate on Jan. 20 in Tunis against the former president's Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) in a new wave of anger about the presence of RCD stalwarts in the transitional government. (Martin Bureau / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Protesters kiss and embrace soldiers during a demonstration in Tunis on Jan. 20. Some observers have said that the army's restraint has helped to keep protests from escalating. (Martin Bureau / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Interim President Fouad Mebazaa (fifth from right) and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi (bottom left) attend the first session of the newly appointed transitional cabinet on Jan. 20 at the government palace in Tunis. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A soldier pushes back a protester as he shows that he is unarmed during a demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party on Jan. 20. Police fired shots into the air to try to disperse hundreds of protesters demanding that ministers associated with the ousted president leave the government. (Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Family of Mohamed Bouazizi pray and mourn at his grave in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Bouazizi, a vegetable salesman, set himself on fire on Dec. 17, igniting protests that forced ex-president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali to flee the country. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A man looks at inscriptions written on the walls in the scorched and looted home belonging to the nephew of ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Hammamet, southeast of Tunis on Jan. 19. (Martin Bureau / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Protesters carry a coffin symbolizing the death of the Constitutional Democratic Rally party of ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali during a demonstration in downtown Tunis on Jan. 19. Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in the Tunisian capital on Wednesday to demand the dismissal from the new coalition government of ministers associated with ousted president Ben Ali. (Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. A woman reacts during a demonstration against the Constitutional Democratic Rally party of deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in central Tunis on Jan. 19. (Thibault Camus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A protestor throws back tear gas at the police during clashes after a demonstration against the Constitutional Democratic Rally, RCD, party of Ben Ali in the center of Tunis on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Four ministers quit Tunisia's day-old government on Tuesday, undermining its hopes of quelling unrest by sharing power with members of the opposition to the old regime. Clashes broke out in central Tunis around the time the resignations were announced, as police fought off protesters demanding that the new cabinet be purged of the old guard that served Ben Ali. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Protestors hold bread as they face riot police officers during a demonstration against the Constitutional Democratic Rally, RCD, party of Ben Ali in the center of Tunis, on Jan. 18. 2011. Four ministers quit Tunisia's day-old government on Tuesday, undermining its hopes of quelling unrest by sharing power with members of the opposition to the old regime. Clashes broke out in central Tunis around the time the resignations were announced, as police fought off protesters demanding that the new cabinet be purged of the old guard that served Ben Ali. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. A man lies injuried during a demonstration in Tunis on Jan.18. Riot police fired tear gas and clashed with protesters on January 18 at a small protest rally against Tunisia's new government in the centre of the capital, AFP reporters on the ground saw. Around 100 protesters chanted slogans against the RCD party of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. "We can live on bread and water alone but not with the RCD," they said. Riot police dispersed the rally -- one of several expected. (Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Tunisian opposition figure Moncef Markouzi celebrates is he is welcomed by supporters, after arriving at the international airport of Tunis on Jan. 18, 2010. Tunisia's day-old government was shaken by the resignation of four ministers on Tuesday, undermining its hopes of quelling simmering unrest by sharing power with members of the opposition to the old regime. (Thibault Camus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. A demonstrator reacts as security forces use water canons to disperse protesters downtown Tunis on Monday, Jan. 17. Police disperesed crowds after demonstrators took to the streets demanding that the ruling party of the ousted president give up power. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. People demonstrate in central Tunis on Jan. 17. Tunisian protesters called for the abolition of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ruling party amid a chaotic power vacuum as politicians prepared a government of national unity. Hundreds of people rallied in Tunis and there were similar protests in Sidi Bouzid and Regueb in central Tunisia - two towns at the heart of the movement that forced Ben Ali to resign and flee on Friday after 23 years in power. (Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. A demonstrator argues with a policeman during a protest in central Tunis on Jan. 17. Hundreds rallied in central Tunis on Monday to demand the abolition of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ruling party. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi was a close ally of Ben Ali and held talks with opposition parties on Sunday to form a national unity government. (Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Police beat a demonstrator in central Tunis on Jan. 17. (Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, left, speaks with Tunisian interim President Foued Mbazaa upon his arrival at the Prime Ministry at the Casbah, in Tunis, Tunisia, on Jan 17. The army continued to patrol the streets as the country awaited the formation of a new national unity government. Tanks were still being deployed on the main avenue in Tunis and army helicopters flew over the city as the administration of interim President Foued Mabazaa sought to stamp out the lawlessness that took hold after longtime leader Zine el-Abidine ben Ali abruptly left power on Jan. 14. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Protestors greet soldiers during a demonstration against former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the center of Tunis on Jan. 17. Helicopters circled overhead as police used tear gas to break up a demonstration on the main avenue in central Tunis. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. People view the ransacked home of Kaif Ben Ali, nephew of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in the Mediterranean resort of Hammamet, about 40 milesfrom the capital on Sunday, Jan. 16. Several hundred people filed through the home of Kaif Ben Ali, taking photographs, picking up plants as souvenirs and stripping out plumbing fixtures, two days after the president was ousted. The home was also set ablaze, according to witnesses. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. A woman tries to convince army soldiers to allow her to cross a street in Tunis on Saturday, Jan. 15. Hundreds of soldiers patrolled the streets of the Tunisian capital on Saturday where the prime minister was met opposition parties in an attempt to form a coalition after protests swept the president from power. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Workers clean a train station dammaged overnight, on Jan. 15 in Tunis. Looting took place overnight in the suburbs of Tunis, witnesses said. (Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. A protester hits a policeman during clashes with riot police in downtown Tunis on Friday, Jan. 14. Tunisian President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali stepped aside on Friday after failing to quell the worst anti-government unrest in his two decades in power. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Protesters carry an unconscious woman during clashes with riot police in the downtown of the capital Tunis on Jan. 14. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Women run during clashes with riot police in downtown Tunis, Jan. 14. Tunisian President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali declared a state of emergency on Friday and warned that protesters would be shot in an increasingly frantic effort to quell the worst unrest in his two decades in power. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, center, addresses the nation on state television Friday. He said that he had taken over as interim president after Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had left the country. (Channel 7 / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. A column of smoke rises from buildings during clashes in Tunis on Friday. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Plain clothed police and riot police officers clash with demonstrators in Tunis. Tunisia's president left the country as gunfire echoed in the North African country's usually calm capital. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Demonstrators gather in front of the interior ministry in Tunis on Friday demanding President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali resign. Thousands of angry demonstrators marched through Tunisia's capital a day after the country's autocratic leader appeared on TV to try to stop deadly riots that have swept the North African nation. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. "No to Ben Ali, the uprising continues," hundreds shouted in a march down the main boulevard in central Tunis. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. A demonstrator throws a stone at police during clashes in Tunis on Friday. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Riot police officers detain a protestor during clashes in Tunis on Friday. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Protesters chant slogans against President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunis on Friday. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. General secretary of the opposition Progressive Democratic party (PDP) Maya Jeridi, center, shouts slogans in front the Interior ministry in Habib Bourguiba avenue in Tunis on Friday. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. People wait in front of the departure gate at the airport in Tunis on Friday. The army took control of the main international Tunis Carthage airport on January 14 and the country's airspace was shut down, an airport source told AFP, as weeks of unrest escalated. (Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali addresses the nation on Thursday. Ben Ali, facing a wave of violent unrest, said he would not change the constitution to allow him to run again when his term expires in 2014. (Handout via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Supporters of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali demonstrate in Tunis on Thursday night. (Christophe Ena / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Rescue workers evacuate unidentified victims of violence on stretchers in Tunis on Thursday. (Hedi Ben Salem / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Newly appointed interior minister Ahmed Friaa attends an extraordinary session at the Chamber of Deputies in Tunis on Thursday. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. Tunisian security forces face demonstrators during clashes on Monday in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. A demonstrator injured in clashes with security forces on Sunday in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid. Protests sparked by high youth unemployment spread from the central town of Sidi Bouzid to other parts of the country. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. A child holds a sign asking for the release of people kept in custody by police following recent protests, during a demonstration in Tunis on Jan. 8. (Hassene Dridi / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Lawyer Abderrahman Ayedi takes off his shirt during a meeting in Tunis on Dec. 29 to show to human rights activist and lawyer Radhia, second from right, marks on his body. He said that he had been subjected to torture the previos day after he was arrested by police. (Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, second from left, meets patient Mohamed Bouazizi during a visit at the Ben Arous hospital near Tunis on Dec. 28. Bouazizi, a 26-year-old university graduate, had set himself on fire in a protest over unemployment, sparking a wave of unrest and clashes. (Handout via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Above: Slideshow (61) State of emergency in Tunisia - State of emergency
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    Slideshow (11) State of emergency in Tunisia - World reaction

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