Tunisian police crack down on ex Ben Ali allies

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 24, 2011 05:53

 
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TUNIS, Tunisia — Police in Tunisia cracked down on key allies of the ousted president on Sunday, placing two high-ranking officials under house arrest and detaining the head of a well-known private TV station for allegedly trying to slow down the country's nascent steps toward democracy.

The measures against former cronies and supporters of deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali came amid continued street protests in the North African country's capital, Tunis, and efforts by the tenuous interim government to heed the incessant groundswell of opposition to his old guard.

Hundreds of protesters — many from Tunisia's provinces south of the capital — rallied in Tunis to press on with demands that holdovers of Ben Ali's repressive 23-year regime be kept out of power.

State news agency TAP reported that Larbi Nasri, the president of privately owned Hannibal TV, was arrested along with his son on charges of "high treason" and plotting against state security.

The station, which has become one of Tunisia's most popular channels mainly for its sports coverage and lively talk shows, almost immediately stopped its broadcasts.

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