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Tunisia dissolves its state security division

By the CNN Wire Staff
Fouad Mebazaa said he plans to continue serving in his interim role until the new parliament begins to work.
Fouad Mebazaa said he plans to continue serving in his interim role until the new parliament begins to work.
  • Move an attempt to rid the country of the trappings of the old government
  • "Political police" were widely unpopular
  • State news agency says the move was made "to overcome the deficiences noted under the former regime"
  • Tunisia

Djerba, Tunisia (CNN) -- Tunisia's Interior Ministry announced Monday that it is dissolving its "political police" and the entire State Security Division, which was widely unpopular under the former regime, according to the country's news agency, Tunis Afrique Presse.

TAP reported that it had received a copy of the communique ordering the moves and that they were done "in harmony with the values of the revolution."

The measures, the communique said, were taken "to overcome the deficiencies noted under the former regime."

The announcement is just the latest change to affect the north African country. Last week, Tunisia's interim president declared that parliamentary elections will be held July 24. Fouad Mebazaa said he planned to continue serving in his interim role until the new parliament begins to work. At least three Tunisian government officials resigned last week in the wake of the resignation of the prime minister.

More than 100 protesters were arrested last week after demanding that the interim government step down and the parliament be disbanded.

Demonstrators were also asking for suspension of the constitution and election of an assembly that can write a new one, as well as organize the transition to democracy.

After last December's suicide of a fruit cart vendor who had lost his job, Tunisians -- many of them fed up with corruption, unemployment and escalating prices of food -- began demonstrating en masse against the government. In mid-January, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali -- who had ruled Tunisia since 1987 -- turned executive power over to his prime minister and fled the country, sparking a wave of protests across the Arab world.

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