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Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Watching the Regimes

2135 GMT: One of a number of photos from a rally in Bizerte, on the northern coast of Tunisia:

2125 GMT: In Algeria, a woman "about 40 years old" tried to set herself on fire on Tuesday in the resort of Sidi Ali Benyoub, 600 kilometres (370 miles) west of Algiers.

It is the 7th case of self-immolation in the last week in Algeria.

2050 GMT: A quote from opposition leader Moncef Marzouki, who returned from exile today (see video in separate entry) and intends to run for President: "A day of great victory for me because finally I can be a free man in my country".

1940 GMT: Meanwhile, to straighten out what was a confusing story today on resignations from the Cabinet.

In the end, four Ministers have resigned. Three --- Anouar Ben Gueddour, junior minister for transportation, Houssine Dimassi, the labour minister, and Abdeljelil Bedoui, a minister without portfolio --- are from Tunisian trade unions. The fourth, Mustafa Ben Jaafar, is from the Democratic Forum for Work and Liberty, an opposition party from the Ben Ali era.

Ahmed Ibrahim, the leader of the Ettajdid Party, says he would resign if ministers in the Cabinet did not resign from Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD). His party also demanded that ministers return all property they obtained through the RCD.

The only prominent leader of a former opposition party who did not threaten to leave today was Najab Chebbi of the Progressive Democratic Party.

1930 GMT: Back from a break to find that President Fuad Mbazza and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, after a day of turmoil in their Cabinet and protests throughout Tunisia, have resigned from the Constutional Democratic Rally (RCD).

Protesters have called on the Government to expel all members of the RCD, which has been the only party to lead Tunisia since independence in 1956 but which was tarnished by the growing movement against deposed President Ben Ali.

1555 GMT: The Financial Times of London publishes "Interview Transcript: Rached Ghannouchi", its discussion with the head of the al-Nahda party, usually labelled as "moderate Islamist". This is one of many interesting comments from Ghannouchi:

From 1981 to this day, there have been many changes to the Muslim world, democratic thought has spread and Islamists have realised the danger of dictatorships, and the benefits of democracy. And they have also realised the harm of Islamic regimes that are not democratic such as the model seen in Afghanistan under the Taliban and Islamist Sudan.

I believe that my thoughts, these ideas have been adopted by the mainstream of the Islamic movements. For instance, the Ikhwan, the largest Islamic movement, have accepted democratic principles and they have since issued many papers on the principles of pluralism and political participation of women. In the latest political programme of the Muslim Brotherhood (of Egypt) they have adopted these ideas although there remains some reservation on women as the head of state and on non-Muslim heads of state, Coptic Christians for instance, and where scholars oversee the legislative process. I openly criticised this stance on television and also in an article on Al-Jazeera in which I said that we should embrace the principles of citizenship as the basis for running the state. And since women and Coptic Christians are citizens they have the right to run for any position and there should be no overseeing of the legislative process by scholars.

1545 GMT: Ahmed Hesham El-Sayed, who set himself on fire today in an apartment block in Alexandria in Egypt (see 1205 GMT), has died of his burns.

1505 GMT: For the second day in a row, Cairo's main stock index fell sharply, with its biggest decline since 25 May. The fall has been fostered in part by fears that unrest in Tunisia could be seen in Egypt.

The Egyptian pound, however, strengthened against the US dollar after reaching its lowest level in nearly six years on Monday.

1500 GMT: In Sudan, the leading Islamist opposition leader Hassan Turabi has been arrested after he called for an uprising. Turabi's son, Siddiq, said around eight other members of Turabi's Islamic Popular Congress Party (PCP) were arrested.

A recent hike in the price of oil and basic commodities has sparked protests by university students and calls for the resignation of local officials. Sudan is also in the midst of a referendum on independence for the section part of the country.

1335 GMT: BBC's Lyse Doucet: "Protestors in Tunisia carrying olive branches, pushed olive trees in pots across street to stop police cars . They did."

1324 GMT: A spokesman for Slim Amamou, the prominent blogger and new Minister of Youth and Sport, tells the BBC that he will not leave the Cabinet.

Amamou confirms, "Je ne demissionnerais pas pour faire comme les autres, je démissionnerais quand je le deciderais." ("I will not resign like the others. I will resign when I decide to.")

1320 GMT: BBC's Lyse Doucet: "Protestors running again. Tear gas fired. Taste it. Smell it." And a few minutes later: "In this area, streets shrouded in tear gas. Police & army taking positions on corners. Protestors scattered."

1315 GMT: Video has been posted of a rally in Gabes protesting against a government which includes the Constutional Democratic Rally (RCD).

1245 GMT: Another twist in the protests, according to BBC's Lyse Doucet: "Extraordinary scene stood between protestors and police. Told police to move back. Crowds cheered. Some hugged soldiers."

1225 GMT: BBC's Lyse Doucet reports, "Army still firing shots in air..but most protestors have scattered."

1210 GMT: Al Jazeera reports the resignation of the three Tunisian Ministers linked with trade unions --- Anouar Ben Gueddour, junior minister for transportation, Houssine Dimassi, the labour minister, and Abdeljelil Bedoui, a minister without portfolio.

But Al Jazeera does not include Ahram Online's claim that two other ministers, who had been leaders of prominent opposition parties, have also resigned (see 1155 GMT).

1205 GMT: A 25-year-old unemployed man set himself on fire in an attempted suicide in a building in the Khurshid district in Alexandria. He was severely burnt and has been unable to be questioned by police.

Ahmed Hesham El-Sayed is the third Egyptian to set fire to himself in two days.

1155 GMT: Ahram Online reports that The five ministers who have left the Government today are from the Movement for Renewal (Ettajdid), the Democratic Forum for Work and Liberty (FDTL) and the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT).

Ettajdid's representative in the Cabinet was Ahmed Ibrahim as Minister of Higher Education. Mustafa Ben Jaafar of the FDTL was Minister of Health.

The resignations would leave Najib Chebbi of the Progressive Democratic Party as the only Cabinet member who had been leader of an opposition faction. Chebbi was named Minister of Regional Development.

1145 GMT: Ben Wedeman of CNN: "Tunisian police getting aggresive with protesters. The Army is not taking part."

Al Arabiya is now reporting five ministers have left the government.

1123 GMT: Three ministers, from the national trade union movement, have withdrawn from the Tunisian Government in protest at the presence of members from the Constitution Democratic Rally (RCD).

1120 GMT: Al-Nahda, the party of Rached Ghannouchi, has denounced a "Government of national exclusion".

The party said it will not present a candidate for President but it wants to participate in Parliamenary elections.

1115 GMT: Riot police on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, after a second round of tear gas into the crowd, are now reportedly harassing random pedestrians.

1055 GMT: Angelique Christafis of The Guardian reports protesters --- she estimates 200 on Habib Bourguiba Avenue singing the National Anthem and protesting the presence of the Constitution Democratic Rally (RCD) in the caretaker government. They have been tear-gassed and hit with batons, but keep regrouping. They are attempting to come back onto Habib Bourguiba Avenue but police won't allow the demonstration.

Ben Wedeman of CNN adds that the tear gas fired at protesters is US-supplied, coming from Federal Laboratories in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania.

1050 GMT: Eyewitnesses say a 70-year-old man set himself ablaze in front of the Egypt Parliament today. He has been taken to Monira Hospital with "minimal injuries".

This is the second self-immolation in two days in front of the Parliament.

1045 GMT: Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, the French photographer who worked for the European Press Photo Agency, has died from injuries suffered when he was hit by a police tear gas canister on Friday in Tunis.

Dolega's death had been falsely reported on Sunday (see updates and one of Dolega's last photos), with the later correction that he was in "critical but stable" condition.

1020 GMT: CNN reports via Twitter that police have fired tear gas at about 300 protesters in Tunis.

0945 GMT: Ben Wedeman of CNN reports, "Central Tunis getting back to normal. Stories, restaurants, cafes open again. No sign of protests."

But this is soon followed by "Small demonstration on Habib Bourgiba...getting bigger as it approached Place de l'Independence." And then: "Lots of police vans have arrived. Now two water cannons on Habib Bourguiba."

0910 GMT: Brian Whitaker has a sharp-eyed analysis this morning:

Give or take a few opposition figures, [the new Government] looks suspiciously like the old one: same prime minister, same people in all the key positions. And all the opposition parties included in it are those that Ben Ali approved of – with none of the parties that he banned.

And Whitaker has an keen observation about the forthcoming election:

Another question here concerns the presidential candidates. As Ibn Kafka points out in his blog, in order to contest the election they need 30 signatures from members of parliament or presidents of city councils.

It's not clear at present how much of an obstacle that might become, but the RCD [ruling Constitutional Democracy Rally] currently holds 161 of the 214 parliamentary seats. In order to muster 30 parliamentary signatures without RCD support, candidates will need backing from at least three of the smaller opposition parties. However, if the RCD wants to avoid generating more hostility among the public it would be well-advised not to use this power to block any serious opposition candidates.

0855 GMT: Soumaya Ghannoushi writes in The Guardian of London:

By toppling their dictator, Tunisians are only halfway to realising their aspirations for genuine reform. The despot is gone, but the gigantic police state that has grown since the country's independence from French occupation in 1956 is still very much alive. The apparatus of repression laid down by Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia's charismatic "founding father", was fine-tuned by the general who inherited it. Dismantling such a monster will not be easy. That is the challenge Tunisians have to meet to complete their revolution.

0815 GMT: The Moor Next Door writes about the self-immolation on Monday of Yacoub Ould Dahoud in Mauritania. Dahoud's attempted suicide by fire was one of several, including 4 or 5 in Algeria and 1 in Egypt, over the last week.

0800 GMT: The Kuwaiti Government is giving a grant of 1,000 Kuwaiti dinars and free food staples to each citizen for 13 months. The decision was taken after the Cabinet's weekly meeting on Sunday.

Officially, the grant and food are to mark three anniversaries in February: the 50th anniversary of independence, the 20th anniversary of liberation from the Iraqi occupation and the 5th anniversary of the accession of the emir, Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed al Jaber al Sabah.

Foreign workers, who make up about two-thirds of the Kuwaiti population of 3.1 million, are excluded.

0745 GMT: We begin this morning with an analysis, posted in a separate entry, of the latest protest and politics in Tunisia. Meanwhile....

There is an effort developing on social media to focus on the "brutalities" of Muammer Gaddafi's regime in Libya. Activists are posting reports of thousands of deaths and disappearances during Gaddafi's 41-year rule.

There are already signs that the Libyan Government fears such a campaign. In his televised address commenting on the fall of Tunisian President Ben Ali, Gaddafi declared:

My Tunisian may be reading this Kleenex and empty talk on the Internet.
This Internet, which any demented person, any drunk can get drunk and write in, do you believe it? The Internet is like a vacuum cleaner, it can suck anything. Any useless person; any liar; any drunkard; anyone under the influence; anyone high on drugs; can talk on the Internet, and you read what he writes and you believe it. This is talk which is for free. Shall we become the victims of “Facebook” and “Kleenex”* and “YouTube”! Shall we become victims to tools they created so that they can laugh at our moods?

Libyan authorities moved quickly to shut down websites which posted footage of weekend protests over housing (see Monday's updates). Five of those videos are still available on EA.

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