The protesters had demanded Ghannouchi to resign because he had since 1999 been prime minister under former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled on 14 January. According to the protesters he had been too much part of the old regime.
"My resignation will provide a better atmosphere for the new era," Ghannouchi said in his tv speech, adding that he wanted to prevent more deaths.'My resignation is in the service of the country,' he said. And he repeated the government's pledge to hold elections to replace Ben Ali by July 15.
Ghannouchi's resignation came after two days of demonstrations which led to clashes and riots. Saturday three people were killed, reportedly shot by police.Security forces fired warning shots and tear gas at the anti-government demonstration, and protesters responded by hurling stones, journalists from the AFP news agency said.
A statement from the interior ministry confirmed that three people had died 'from the dozen who were wounded during clashes'. The statement also said that "several members of the security forces were wounded.An interior ministry official, told the Reuters news agency that the deaths had occurred after a riot orchestrated by Ben Ali loyalists.
"Those who were arrested have admitted they were pushed by former Ben Ali officials," he said. "Others said they were paid to do it." The interior ministry statement said more than 100 people were arrested on Saturday and 88 people had been arrested on Friday.