Interior minister fired, Tunisia PM says

Published January 12th, 2011 - 12:40 GMT
Tunisia riots
Tunisia riots

Tunisia's president sacked the country's interior minister and ordered the release of those arrested in protests over the high unemployment levels that claimed the lives of scores, the North African country's prime minister said on Wednesday.

Mohamed Ghannouchi told a press conference that interior minister Rafik Belhaj Kasem had been dismissed. According to AFP, Kasem was responsible for the police force, which has been widely criticized for its harsh response to the protests. The government said 21 people had been killed in the riots, but other sources said more than 50 were killed over the weekend.

The prime minister added that all the detainees had been released.

Ghannouchi conveyed allegations by opposition and non-government bodies into corruption would be investigated by a special commission.

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