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TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Four ministers quit Tunisia's day-old government on Tuesday, undermining its hopes of quelling unrest by sharing power with members of the opposition to the old regime.
All who resigned were opponents of deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's iron-fisted 23-year rule and had been named to the government Monday. It was not immediately clear if the resignations could bring down the government, which has 40 full and junior ministers.
Clashes broke out in central Tunis around the time the resignations were announced, as police fought off protesters demanding that the new cabinet be purged of the old guard that served Ben Ali.
Riot police in shielded helmets pummeled a protester to the ground with batons and boot kicks as other officers fired off tear gas grenades to disperse a crowd of several hundred demonstrators.
"I am afraid that our revolution will be stolen from me and my people. The people are asking for freedoms and this new government is not. They are the ones who oppressed the people for 22 years," said Ines Mawdud, a 22-year-old student among protesters at the demonstration.
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