2 Top Officials Depart Ben Ali's Party In Tunisia


Tunisia's interim president and prime minister resigned from the ousted leader's ruling party, state TV said Tuesday, a move seen as a gesture to placate angry street demonstrators and keep the unity government afloat.

President Fouad Mebazaa and Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi submitted their resignations from Constitutional Democratic Rally, which was the ruling party of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali -- now in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Members of the opposition and the Ben Ali party formed a unity government to replace the ousted president, but there have been difficulties in getting that administration going because protesters are demanding that more should be done to sweep the old guard out of power.

The displeasure was reflected Tuesday in central Tunis, when roving packs of protesters staged demonstrations and up to 1,000 protesters took to the streets of the capital and called the country's new unity government a sham.

When peaceful gatherings started to grow in size, witnesses said, police would step in and start firing tear gas and chase protesters with their batons. At least a half dozen people were beaten, witnesses said, and one man's arm was broken.

At the same time, more people began going back to work and more businesses were opening Tuesday, as many tried to restore a sense of normalcy despite the unrest permeating certain places in the restive country. But many others remained angry about the country's new unity government, saying they don't want it to include anyone from the old administration, which fell apart after Ben Ali fled last week.

""No leftovers from the old regime!"" protesters chanted.

Lotfi Al Ahwal, a senior member of the General Union of Tunisian Workers, has confirmed that the union's administrative committee is calling for all of its members to resign from the recently formed unity government. Three secretaries have already stepped down, Al Ahw