In Tunisia, Arab leader falls to 'people power' for first time ever
Mohammed Ghannouchi, the prime minister, announced he was taking over as acting president as the army moved in to seize control of the main airport in the capital Tunis.
The collapse of the 23-year dictatorship, the first ever collapse of an Arab leader to a “people power” uprising, was met nervously by Tunisia’s allies.
Mr Ben Ali was first thought to have flown to France but was reportedly refused permission to enter by President Nicolas Sarkozy. A plane carrying Mr Ben Ali landed early on Saturday morning in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah, a Saudi source said.
The U.S. was keen to demonstrate it was open to a peaceful transistion in the North African state.
“We believe the Tunisian people have the right to choose their leaders, and will monitor this latest development closely,” said Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
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