In his first address to the nation after the start of the popular uprising in the central Tunisian city of Sidibouzid, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali insisted Law will be enforced rigorously (Bikol Hazm) against who he called “terrorists” and “thugs.” Few would have predicted that 4 weeks after that speech, the Tunisian government would issue an international arrest warrant against Ben Ali and his wife. The news dispatch from AFP today reads:
The justice ministry said Ben Ali, his wife Leila Trabelsi and other members of his once all-powerful family were accused of illegally acquiring assets and transferring funds abroad during the veteran leader’s 23-year regime.
The announcement came as tensions mounted in the north African state ahead of a critical cabinet shake-up expected to be announced on Wednesday, amid clashes in Tunis at a protest calling for a clean break with the old regime.
Riot police tear-gassed protesters who have been rallying in the main government quarter in Tunis for four days after some of them tried to force a barrier, while security forces sealed off the area with barbed wire.
An AFP reporter saw some 200 protesters throwing stones at police.
The struggle of the Tunisian people is far from over.