Tunisia’s interior minister has been fired after a deadly wave of violence not seen in decades.
Protests against unemployment and corruption have swept the country and have also reached the capital Tunis.
Along with the sacking, President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali also announced that all those arrested in weeks of clashes with police should be released.
It represents a dramatic change in direction. Only days ago Ben Ali accused the rioters of committing acts of terrorism.
So far 23 people have officially been killed, but that figure could be much higher.
Euronews spoke to Tunisian opposition leader Ahmad Nejib Chebbi who called on the government to listen: “Despite a four week crackdown these demonstrations have shown that if this movement hasn’t stopped it’s because its origins are deep and the demands are legitimate and serious.
“If the regime continues to repress these demonstrators it’s not going to resolve the problem. Quite the opposite. This movement will gain momentum. Last night, this protest movement won the capital and the army was deployed in the main streets of Tunis. There is another possible outcome to this crisis, the regime has to have the courage to recognise its errors and the wrongs it has committed and involve all Tunisians in building a better future.”
Earlier, several fire bombs were thrown at Tunisia’s embassy in the Swiss capital Berne, but failed to ignite. The Tunisian government’s handling of the riots has drawn international criticism. The EU called the use of force disproportionate and unacceptable.