Political wrangling continues in Tunisia

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Audio Transcript:

Anchor Marco Werman gets an update on the latest protests and political wrangling in Tunisia from the BBC's Lyse Doucet in Tunis.

MARCO WERMAN: Unlike Sudan Tunisia has been considered one of the more stable countries in North Africa. Then last month widespread anger toward the regime turned into a popular revolt. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown on Friday. That ended his iron fisted rule but began another phase of unrest. Yesterday Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announced a new national unity government but key roles went to members of the ousted president's party. And that didn't sit well with many Tunisians according to the BBC's Lyse Doucet in Tunis.

LYSE DOUCET: They want the party to go but they want the individuals to go. These are people who've been around a long time. The Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi is a very close ally of the ousted president. And I don't think it is going to be enough for some of the more radical protesters who are saying, ?This is a revolution. This is not simply changing, cosmetic changes or changing some of the faces. We want complete change. ?We want the dictator gone? as they put it ?but the dictatorship is still here.? Now there are other voices who are saying, ?Listen, we need experienced people if we want this to be a stable and peaceful transition. And people who had been in opposition had not had any experience in running of the government. We need these hands at this hour.?

WERMAN: Now back at to the streets where you were today Lyse what did you see? Are the protests as intense as they were before President Ben Ali fled the country?

DOUCET: Well the protests change every day. They're not on the scale that they were that forced Ben Ali to leave last Friday with the assistance of the army, but they started today hundreds strong. But I can say having been there for a few hours they grew steadily bigger. They would be, they'd come to the streets, they'd be chanting their slogans, calling on the ruling party to leave, riot police, and the army would move in with the tear gas canisters firing shots in the air that would scatter the protesters. And then within a short time the protesters would assemble again, and every time they did the crowds grew steadily larger, steadily louder. But in the midst of this I have to say just to give you a flavor of the mood here in Tunis now, sometimes they would be these loud, angry, harsh violent scenes but in others there would be these moments where the crowds would break into these emotional renditions of the national songs, they would be chanting ?Long live the army.? They'd distinguish them from the police. I've even seen today some of the protesters hugging the army. So this is the fluidity of Tunisian society today. It's a society trying to reshape itself but it doesn't really know what the final shape of this country will be.

WERMAN: The security forces, who's controlling them and who's side are they on?

DOUCET: Tunisians make a distinction between the army which is tens of thousands strong as regarded and quite unusually for this region as being apolitical and professional. And then there's the police which numbers in the hundreds of thousands and is seen as having been close to the ruling party, very close to the ousted president Ben Ali. So there's a lot of anger and resentment and suspicion of these police. And one woman today, there was even at one protest the army actually moved in between to separate the protesters from the riot and police, and that caused the protesters to break into their chanting, they saw the army telling the riot police to move back. So there is this extraordinary scene, a sense of solidarity army and protesters against the police. But it's not so simple as that, because of course the army is watching all of this [xx]. There are some people who say it wasn't a revolution, not at least a hundred percent. It was in part a military coup because of the fact that the army didn't move against the protesters last week, the fact that is also facilitated the departure of the president meant that is playing a key role on the streets, behind the scenes, and we don't really know what they're thinking as they watch these developments unfold.

WERMAN: The BBC's Lyse Doucet in Tunis. Thanks so much Lyse.

DOUCET: Thank you.