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15 January 2011

Tunisia protest: in pictures

The Tunisian president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, has fled to Saudi Arabia after days of mass protest

By Samira Shackle

Above, a protester holds a placard demanding the resignation of Ben Ali at a protest outside the interior ministry in Tunis on 14 January. Ben Ali, 74, has been president since 1987. He has now fled the country.

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Above, protesters take part in a rally to celebrate his departure. This followed an extraordinary day that brought the declaration of a state of emergency and the evacuation of British tourists and visitors of other nationalities. The moves followed weeks of mass protest and violent clashes.

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Fires left by demonstrators burn in Tunis. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announced that he would act as interim president, vowing to restore stability for Tunisia’s 10.5 million citizens.

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The note reads “Ben Ali out”. A state of emergency and a 12-hour curfew failed to restore calm. Protests are ongoing amid the confusion about what will happen next and concerns that Ben Ali might be able to return before elections are held.

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A protester throws rocks at the police. The streets of Tunis are reportedly now largely deserted.

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Police fire tear gas to disperse crowds unmoved by the president’s concession and demanding his immediate resignation. Since the unrest started, scores of demonstrators have been killed by police firing live ammunition into crowds.