16 Jan 2011

Curfew back in force in Tunisian capital

3:47 pm on 16 January 2011

A night curfew is back in force in the Tunisian capital after a day of unrest and confusion following the removal from power and flight into exile of the President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Mr Ben Ali has gone into exile in Saudi Arabia, and the speaker of the country's parliament, Foued Mebazaa, has been sworn in as interim president, with elections to be held within two months.

A fire swept though a prison in the Tunisian resort town of Monastir, killing at least 42 people amid continuing unrest, the BBC reports.

In the capital, Tunis, looting hit the suburbs of the capital after the president fled the country.

The military has been deployed in the capital to control looting and other violence. Troops are patrolling the city centre and a state of emergency is in force.

The BBC says that as the curfew again came into force on Saturday, reports came in that at least two people had been shot by troops in the city's main square.

The city's main railway station has been badly damaged by fire though the international airport has reopened.

European tour operators have been evacuating thousands of holidaymakers.