Tunisians decry "regime leftovers" in new government (VIDEO)


Tunisians angered by the presence of members of the old ruling regime in the new national unity government protested in the capital Tuesday.

Meanwhile, three ministers reportedly from the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), which played a key role in protests that ousted the former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, have reportedly withdrawn from the government.

A crowd of about 300 protesters gathered in central Tunis on Tuesday morning, with police using tear gas to disperse them. Officers reportedly beat some demonstrators. One man had his arm broken.

Demonstrators were angry about the country's new unity government, announced Monday, saying they don't want anyone from the old regime in power.

"No leftovers from the old regime!" they chanted.

Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi angered many protesters when he kept several ministers from the former ruling party in their jobs.

Ghannouchi had hoped to placate protesters by including members of the opposition in the government, but he also retained members of the ruling party in key ministerial positions.

Ghannouchi himself was one of eight ministers staying on from the previous government of Ben Ali, who resigned and fled on Friday in the Arab world's first such popular revolt.

He said that the ministers remaining, including the defense and interior ministers, had acted "to preserve the national interest."

"They kept their posts because we need them at this time," Ghannouchi said on French radio, Al Jazeera reported. "All of them have clean hands."

The opposition members who resigned were Anouar Ben Gueddour, the junior minister for transportation, Houssine Dimassi, the labor minister, and Abdeljelil Bedoui, a minister without a portfolio.

Weeks of demonstrations have left 78 dead, the government said. Many of the injured were police officers, according to the country's interior ministry.

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The following footage is from Jan. 14: