11 May 2011 VOA News Tunisian authorities have arrested nearly 200 people after several days of anti-government protests, as the country struggles to stabilize following the ouster of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Tunisia's official TAP news agency quoted the Interior Ministry as saying arrests were made Monday and
The protests erupted last Thursday after former Interior Minister Farhat Rajhi warned that loyalists of Mr. Ben Ali could be plotting a coup if Tunisia's main Islamist group wins the country's elections in July.
Protesters took to the streets of the Tunisian capital, Tunis, demanding the resignation of the country's caretaker government and chanting they want a “new revolution.”
Demonstrators say they believe members of Mr. Ben Ali's government could be meddling in the country's current affairs.
Tunisian police fired tear gas and clashed with the protesters.
Ennahda – Tunisia's main Islamist group – was banned under Mr. Ben Ali. Political analysts say it could do well in the July 24 elections, particularly in the conservative south, where frustration over poverty and unemployment is widespread.
Popular discontent about widespread unemployment and official corruption led to an uprising in January that resulted in Mr. Ben Ali's resignation. He fled to exile in Saudi Arabia with much of his extended family. Continued protests since have forced several reshuffles of the Tunisian Cabinet.
The former president's overthrow has revived tensions between pro-Islamists and anti-Islamists in the North African country. The July 24 vote is for an assembly that will draft a new constitution.