24 Jan 2011 - Tunisian police today used teargas to try to disperse protesters who gathered at the prime minister's office as part of a campaign to remove a government linked to ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
The protesters, most of whom came to the capital from marginalised rural areas, surged into the office compound and broke several windows in the finance ministry building, according to witnesses interviewed by Reuters.
More than a week after the prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, assumed the helm of an interim coalition following the overthrow of Ben Ali, he and other former loyalists of the feared ruling party face mounting pressure to step down.
But the shape that any eventual popular leadership might take is unclear. Formal opposition parties exist, but are not well known after decades of oppression. A hitherto banned Islamist party has called for early elections and may find support.
The foreign minister, Kamel Morjane, who served under Ben Ali, said he would not step down yet.
"As for my post as a minister, I see it as a way to help my country at a difficult moment. I am not insisting on staying in the government," he told France's Le Figaro newspaper.
Morjane said his main concern was that the country might "descend into chaos".
Protesters have gathered at the prime minister's office, limited in numbers but tolerated by police anxious for their own futures after Ben Ali's departure. The demonstrators enjoy wide support among a population unused to free political expression.
Since Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia earlier this month, police have only fired teargas once against protesters, who had gathered on the central Habib Bourguiba Boulevard.
On Sunday, hundreds of people who had been driven to the capital in a "freedom caravan" surrounded Ghannouchi's office building in central Tunis.
Many were from Sidi Bouzid, a city in central Tunisia where the "Jasmine revolution" over poverty, corruption and political repression was prompted a month ago by the suicide of a young man.