The Tunisian president has sacked his interior minister after a deadly wave of violent unrest reached the capital, Tunis, for the first time. Rafik Belhaj Kacem, who was responsible for the police force which has been widely criticised for its ruthless response to the protests, was dismissed on Wednesday.
Soldiers were deployed in the centre of Tunis on the same day after the violence flared in the capital for the first time overnight. Armoured vehicles rumbled through Tunis and troops took up positions at major intersections and the
entrance to the Cite Ettadhamen quarter where rioters burnt vehicles and attacked government offices late on Tuesday, Aljazeera.net reports.
"The president has decided to appoint Ahmed Friaa as interior minister," Mohamed Ghannouchi, the prime minister, told journalists at a news conference.
"He has announced the creation of a committee of investigation into corruption and to assess the mistakes of certain officials," he said. "The president has decided to free all those arrested in the riots."
The protests, now entering their fourth week, are being watched closely in other countries in the Arab world with the potential for social unrest, Financial Times says.