Major cabinet shake-up as army speaks out
Tunisia prepared for a major cabinet shake-up on Monday as the head of the army warned thousands of anti-government protesters in the centre of Tunis that a "power vacuum" could lead to a dictatorship.
"Our revolution, your revolution, the revolution of the young, risks being lost ... There are forces that are calling for a void, a power vacuum. The void brings terror, which brings dictatorship," Rachid Ammar told the protesters.
Speaking through a megaphone and surrounded by soldiers, the popular general said the army would act as a "guarantor" for the revolution that ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and would respect the country's constitution.
He appealed to protesters to let "this government or another one" work.
But hundreds of protesters from impoverished regions in central Tunisia chanted anti-government slogans in front of Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi's offices for a third day, saying they would not leave until the cabinet resigns.
The new government has announced unprecedented democratic freedoms for Tunisia after the end of Ben Ali's 23-year rule, but many people are angry that figures from the previous regime, like Ghannouchi, remain in the cabinet.
Protesters also want Ben Ali's powerful RCD party to be disbanded.
Taieb Baccouch, a spokesman for the government and the education minister, meanwhile told AFP that a cabinet reshuffle involving at least six ministerial posts was being discussed and could be announced later.
Many Tunisians feel the same and have kept up daily protests, calling also for the destruction of Ben Ali's RCD party.
Others say it is time for calm.