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Friday, January 14, 2011 - 4:03am

In Tunisia: President Says He'll Leave In 2014; Protesters Say Go Now

The news from Tunisia, where young people's protests against the authoritarian government and unemployment in recent weeks have left dozens of people dead, is changing fast:

-- Last night, "an unusually contrite President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ...made sweeping pledges for political and media freedom and said he will leave the presidency, but not until his term ends in 2014," the Associated Press writes.

-- And while NPR's Eleanor Beardsley said on Morning Edition that immediately after Ben Ali's announcement his supporters poured into the streets of Tunis, this morning the protests have resumed. The AP now says that "thousands of angry demonstrators marched through Tunisia's capital Friday, demanding the resignation of the country's autocratic leader a day after he appeared on TV to try to stop deadly riots that have swept the North African nation."

As NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton adds from Dakar, Senegal: "Ben Aliacknowledged it was wrong to use force against demonstrators demanding social change and political reform. ...But there's skepticism about whether his deeds will match his words."

Here is Eleanor's conversation with Morning Edition's Renee Montagne, which has some good background on what's been happening in Tunisia.

Reminder: NPR social media strategist Andy Carvin has been documenting the news from Tunisia using a curation tool called Storify. Check this post to see what he's been doing and, if you wish, to join his experiment. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

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