Russia to evacuate nationals from Tunisia

12:43, January 16, 2011      

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Russia will evacuate all its nationals from the North African nation of Tunisia, which is in chaos after massive protests forced its president to flee.

Russian Deputy Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Nadezhda Nazina told local media Saturday there currently were about 200 Russian tourists in Tunisia, all of whom would be evacuated Sunday by a charter flight from Russian company Transaero.

"If a corridor near Tunis is open, they will all leave tomorrow morning on a Transaero flight," Nazina said.

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled on Friday after 23 years in power amid massive demonstrations requesting him to step down. The plane he fled in landed in the Saudi city of Jeddah early Saturday.

The protests began mid-December over rising food costs and rampant unemployment.

The nationwide protests were ignited by the suicide of Mohammed Bouazizi, a street vendor in the southern city of Sidi Bouzid, who set himself on fire after police confiscated his fruit cart.

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announced on television Friday he had taken over the interim government and called on all Tunisians to demonstrate "patriotism and unity."

Source: Xinhua
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