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Amnesty for Tunisian political prisoners and parties

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Amnesty for Tunisian political prisoners and parties

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There have been emotional scenes outside a Tunisian jail as freed political prisoners were reunited with their families. The country’s new government has offered a blanket amnesty.

All banned political groups will be recognised, including the Islamist opposition. But there have been complaints that only a few hundred of those imprisoned during former President Ben Ali’s 23 year rule have so far been released.

Three days of mourning have been declared for the victims of the “jasmine revolution”.

Its roots lie buried in an olive grove outside the town of Sidi Bouzid. The protest by vegetable seller Mohammed Bouazizi, who set himself alight after being prevented from trading, sparked a national revolt.

“Mr Bouazizi, he was a martyr, he was a hero, he is a symbol, I thank him, because he freed me of my fear,” said one woman proudly.

In Tunis and other cities, protesters have kept up the pressure for a government free of ties from Ben Ali’s old guard.

All ministers from the former regime have resigned from the ex leader’s RCD party. But they remain within the government, apart from one who said he was standing down in the “nation’s supreme interest”.