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Entries in Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (11)


Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Dragging Out the Day

2045 GMT: Doctors have suggested that regime forces in Yemen used a form of nerve gas on pro-democracy protesters in Sanaa in a violent clash on Tuesday night.

The soldiers fired warning shots into the air before shooting gas and, it is claimed, live bullets into the crowd, killing one and injuring at least 75.

“The material in this gas makes people convulse for hours. It paralyzes them. They couldn’t move at all. We tried to give them oxygen but it didn’t work,” said Amaar Nujaim, a field doctor who works for Islamic Relief.

“We are seeing symptoms in the patient’s nerves, not in their respiratory systems. I’m 90 percent sure its nerve gas and not tear gas that was used,” said Sami Zaid, a doctor at the Science and Technology Hospital in Sanaa.

Mohammad Al-Sheikh, a pathologist at the same hospital, said that some of the victims had lost their muscular control and were forced to wear diapers.

“We have never seen tear gas cause these symptoms. We fear it may be a dangerous gas that is internationally forbidden,” Al-Sheikh said.

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Tunisia Snap Analysis: General Ammar's Message to Protesters (and the Government)

In Tunisia, there continue to be dramatic developments. Amidst chatter that the interim Government would be replaced by a "council of wise men" to give the country a semblance of authority before March elections, the head of the Army, Rachid Ammar, suddenly appeared before protesters outside the Prime Minister's office (see Monday's updates).

Ammar's message was a request to the thousands of demonstrators and a warning to the politicians. He asked those assembled to finish their protest and allow a bit of space for discussions. And his declaration that the Army supported the people's revolution and would uphold the Constitution sent out the message to those inside the Government buildings: get this sorted now.

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Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Debating the Future, Mourning the Past

2224 GMT: The Tunisian Prime Minister's office has regained control of its homepage, after it was taken over by the Anonymous collective earlier this evening (see 2135 GMT).

2215 GMT: Speaking on television tonight, Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi says he will not be a candidate in elections, due in six months, and will retire from politics.

2135 GMT: The Anonymous collective has posted a message on the homepage of the Tunisian Prime Minister:

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Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: In Control?

2105 GMT: In Egypt, Al Masry Al Youm grasps the nettle on the recent wave of self-immolations: "Desperate Egyptians setting themselves on fire like their Tunisian counterparts are unlikely to spur wide-ranging protests, but they might serve to pressure the government into providing economic concessions ahead of a pivotal presidential election in September."

And there are two more cases to consider: a pair of workers at a textile factory in Menufia set themselves on fire to protest transfers to other sections.

2045 GMT: Back from a break to find that the Tunisian Cabinet has agreed to lift the ban on all political groups as well as granting an amnesty to all political prisoners.

The parties who can now freely operate include the al-Nadha movement, usually identified as "Islamist".

In other decisions, the Cabinet withdrew university police from campuses, stripped the former ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally of all public assets, and separated senior government employees from the RCD.

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Tunisia Analysis: Will the New Government Survive?

Perhaps the most striking political development, given the symbolism of resistance and Government, was was the Minister who did not resign. Blogger Slim Amamou, an iconic figure inside and outside Tunisia because of his challenge to Ben Ali through social media, the man who had been arrested a week before Ben Ali fell and whose release symbolised the "new" Tunisia, refused to step down as Minister of Youth and Sport. 

Amamou said he would resign when he decided, not when others did. But that only brought further - questions.

What should he decide? And what will others, in the meeting rooms and on the streets, now decide?

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Tunisia Video: Claimed Footage of Tuesday Protests

Return of opposition leader Moncef Marzouki to Tunisia

Protest in El Kef in northwestern Tunisia:

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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.

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Tunisia Analysis: Converting the Opposition into Government Supporters?

Prime Minister Mohamed GhannouchiSo Tunisia is now in a 60-day phase between the announcement of the Government, replacing the deposed regime of President Ben Ali, and elections. While the contest on the streets against Ben Ali's former security men seems to have been won, we wait to see if the second challenge in our analysis yesterday will be met: will this Government be seen as legitimate?

A symbolic answer was attempted by about 1000 protesters on Monday in Tunis. A demonstration that started peacefully was dispersed by water cannon and tear gas when demonstrators tried to approach Government buildings, but the political demands remain.

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Tunisia LiveBlog: A New Government?

1940 GMT: Tunisian Minister of Interior Ahmed Friaa says 78 people died and 94 were injured in the violence surrounding the downfall of President Ben Ali.

At the time of the clashes, the Government would only admit to between 20 and 30 dead.

1850 GMT: This captioned photograph is making the rounds by e-mail. Former President Ben Ali of Tunisia on left: "Don't be late, it gets lonely." President Hosni Mubarak on right: "You're first, we're next." (h/t Sultan Al Qassemi)

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Tunisia Analysis: Battles on the Street, Bigger Battles for A Government

There is a much larger battle going on, away from the clashes on the streets. On Sunday, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi declared, "Tomorrow we will announce the new government which will open a new page in the history of Tunisia." 

The practical steps behind that flourish are that a coalition has been agreed, with former opposition factions such as the Democratic Progressive Party and the Democratic Forum for Labour and Freedoms each getting one post. "Technocrats" are likely to retain their posts, and there will be representatives from trade unions and lawyers' groups.

Is that enough for legitimacy? Two immediate issues emerge.

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