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Overnight unrest after Tunisia's president flees

Overnight unrest after Tunisia's president flees
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Turmoil has continued in Tunisia overnight after popular protests swept the president from power.

Looters and gangs have exploited the security vacuum in the capital. Witnesses said the army was called in to try to restore calm.

The prime minister is now caretaker president. He says he will meet political parties today to try to form a coalition to take Tunisia to early elections.

But Mohamed Ghannouchi is closely linked to President Ben Ali’s rule and it is unclear if his leadership will be accepted on the streets.

Former President Ben Ali has fled Tunis. Saudi Arabia says he and his family have arrived there.

Our correspondent in the Tunisian capital, Jamel Ezzedini, says this is a new independence for people who belived in their right to freedom and dignity.

“This is what hundreds of Tunisians on the streets exclaimed, despite a curfew and state of emergency, expressing their delight and joy at the president’s departure. He has been replaced by the prime minister on a temporary basis. What lies ahead for Tunisia remains to be seen,” Ezzedini said.