Tunisian government ousted

After 23 years of iron-fisted rule, the president of Tunisia was driven from power Friday by violent protests over soaring unemployment and corruption.

Virtually unprecedented in modern Arab history, the populist uprising sent an ominous message to authoritarian governments that dominate the region.

Weeks of violent protests fueled by corruption, widespread unemployment and a lack of liberty toppled one of the Arab world's most entrenched leaders, who fled this North African country Friday after 23 years of rule.

President Zine el Abidine ben Ali handed power to his prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi. Authorities established a curfew across the nation of 10 million people, and the prime minister promised broad consultations starting Saturday on political and economic reforms.