Obama-Backed Protestors In Tunisia Force Out President
Tunisia's prime minister assumed control of a nation in chaos on Friday.
"I vow that I will respect the constitution and implement the political, economic and social reforms that have been announced … in consultation with all political sides including political parties and civil society," Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi said in a live televised address, according to Reuters news service.
President Barack Obama said in a statement on Friday that the "Tunisia's future will be brighter if it is guided by the voices of the Tunisian people."
"I condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people," Obama said. "The United States stands with the entire international community in bearing witness to this brave and determined struggle for the universal rights that we must all uphold, and we will long remember the images of the Tunisian people seeking to make their voices heard."
Tunisian authorities on Friday declared a state of emergency amidst the worst rioting there in decades. The state of emergency was called after thousands of protesters angry with high food prices and unemployment took to the streets and clashed with police.
According to Reuters, state media reported that Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali dismissed his government and called elections to be held in that country within six months. Protestors had for weeks been demanding Ben Ali's resignation, saying they would calm their protests upon his exit. He has yet to confirm that he stepped down.
As a result of the state of emergency, public gatherings have been banned and security forces have been ordered to fire on anyone who does not comply. The military has also taken control of Tunisia's main airport and airspace has over the country has been closed.
Voice of America reported that 13 people were killed in the riots late Thursday, in addition to 23 people the government has said were killed.
Read more from Voice of America here.