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The Tunisian Moment

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A demonstrator holds a placard during a rally in front of the Interior Ministry in Tunis on Jan. 14, to demand President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's resignation. Ben Ali stepped down Jan. 14 after 23 years in power and fled the North African state as the authorities declared a state of emergency following deadly protests. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced on state television that he had taken over as interim president, after a day of violent clashes between rock-throwing protesters and riot police in the streets of central Tunis.

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A photo taken from Channel 7 shows Ghannouchi at center, flanked by Abdallah Kallel on the left, president of the Chamber of Advisors of Tunisia, and the president of the Tunisian parliament, Fouad Mebazaa, addressing the nation on state television on Jan. 14 that he had taken over as interim president after Ben Ali had left the country.

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Tunisian demonstrators throw rocks during clashes with security forces on Mohammed V Avenue in Tunis on Jan. 14. Police fired massive volleys of tear gas and deployed troops in Tunis on Friday to disperse thousands of demonstrators calling for Ben Ali to step down. The police acted when reinforcements tried to join protesters gathered for several hours outside the interior ministry, sending crowds fleeing from Habib Bourguiba Avenue amid choking clouds of gas, AFP reporters said.

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Tunisian security forces stand guard in front the Interior Ministry on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis during a demonstration following Ben Ali's address to the nation on Jan. 14. The 74-year-old leader admitted that he had mishandled a spreading wave of unrest and promised democratic reforms. Ben Ali also made clear that his forces should no longer use lethal force against demonstrators, after human rights groups said at least 66 people had been killed. Thousands of Tunisians demanded Ben Ali's departure with marches in the capital and other towns, a day after the president pledged to not seek another term in office in hopes of quelling growing unrest.

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Chairs and other objects set on fire billow smoke as Tunisian demonstrators walk the streets during clashes with security forces on Jan. 10 in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid.

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Tunisian demonstrators and lawyers shout slogans in front of the Interior Ministry along Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis after Ben Ali's address to the nation on Jan. 14.

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Tunisian demonstrators run away from tear gas during clashes with security forces in front of the Interior Ministry in Tunis on Jan. 14.

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Soldiers on an armored vehicle stand in front of demonstrators on Mohammed V Avenue in Tunis on Jan. 14.

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A Tunisian woman waves the national flag in front of the Interior Ministry during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Tunis on Jan. 14.

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Firemen work at a burned mall on Jan. 13, in the Cite Ettadhamen district, several kilometers from the center of Tunis, where rioters torched vehicles and attacked government offices late on Jan. 12. Troops withdrew from much of the Tunisian capital in the face of mounting unrest, the worst violence faced by the authoritarian regime in more than 20 years.

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Tunisian demonstrators throw rocks during clashes with security forces in front of the Interior Ministry in Tunis on Jan. 14.

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A Tunisian demonstrator throws a rock during clashes with security forces on Mohammed V Avenue in Tunis on Jan. 14 after Ben Ali's address to the nation.

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Tunisian military stand guard in front of their car in Tunis center on Jan. 13. Police and anti-riot forces deployed into the city center in strength as tensions mounted after another attempt to march earlier in the day.

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Tunisian security forces block Mohammed V Avenue during clashes with demonstrators in Tunis on Jan. 14.

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Tunisian security forces clear people away during clashes with demonstrators on Mohammed V Avenue on Jan. 14.

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A video grab shows a fire on Jan. 13 at a luxury resort residence said to be owned by a member of Ben Ali's inner circle in Hammamet. A police station was destroyed in the riots along with the local headquarters of Ben Ali's ruling party and several other villas.

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Smoke rises from fire after clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Tunis on Jan. 14.

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Human rights militants are blocked by police forces during an unauthorized demonstration on Jan. 13 in Rabat.

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Tunisians bury their relatives killed in the clashes on Jan. 9 at a cemetery in Tala.

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A Tunisian demonstrator prepares to throw a rock during clashes with security forces in Regueb on Jan. 10. Ben Ali blamed weekend rioting that left at least 14 people dead on "gangs of thugs," dismissing increasing concern from the international community.

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A Tunisian demonstrator walks along a rock-strewn street during clashes with security forces in Regueb on Jan. 10.

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