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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 22:07 GMT
Argentine president resigns
Argentine President Fernando de la Rua has resigned amid some of the worst unrest in his country for a decade, Argentine Government officials say.

Mr de la Rua submitted his resignation on Thursday after a day of running battles in the capital Buenos Aires between police and protesters.

Rioters set fire to the finance ministry and two major banks as police tried to control the crowds with volleys of tear gas.

President de la Rua had earlier called for the formation of a national unity government, saying he planned to stay in power to help Argentina through the crisis.

Public fury worsened after the president called a state of emergency - giving the police special powers - in a bid to stem widespread rioting and looting, in which at least 20 people have died.

All the members of President de la Rua's cabinet have already handed in their resignations, although so far the Argentine leader has only accepted that of the Economy Minister, Domingo Cavallo.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Tom Gibb
"Some people have already started to celebrate."
The BBC's Stephen Evans
"General strikes are being called by the two main unions"
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