TUNIS (AFP) - A Tunisian court ordered the former ruling RCD party's to be dissolved Wednesday, consigning a key pillar of toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year regime to the scrapheap. The Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD) had already been suspended from official duties in February after Ben Ali fled on January 14 at the height of a popular uprising to overthrow his autocratic regime. The court "has decided to dissolve the Rally for Constitutional Democracy and to liquidate its assets and funds," the ruling said, triggering a burst of applause in a court room filled with hundreds of people. Some in the crowd broke into the national anthem as others shouted "RCD go away", "Free Tunisia" and "Martyrs, we are continuing the struggle", a reference to the scores killed in the weeks-long revolt that toppled Ben Ali. Lawyers in their robes and people wrapped in the national flag mixed into the throng, which spilled out of the building, an AFP reporter said. "A cancerous tumour has been removed, but it is still necessary to undergo some chemotherapy," said lawyer Ayahci Hammami. "We have to remain vigilant to protect what the revolution has gained and prevent RCD partisans from resurfacing under another name," Hammami added. There had been fears the party, which claimed a membership of two million people out of a population of 12 million, would attempt to stage a comeback at the ballot box. Demands for its dissolution, as well as the removal of holdovers from the Ben Ali regime in new interim authority, had been a focus of demonstrations that continued after the ageing dictator fled. The court case against the RCD was lodged by the interior ministry, which noted after the verdict that the RCD could appeal the decision. The party was accused of violating the constitution to set up a one-party "totalitarian regime" under Ben Ali. "The RCD leaders must now be judged, just like a lot of Tunisians who were unjustly imprisoned, tortured and humiliated," said a sobbing 47-year-old worker Abdelhamid Al-Souli. Since it was created in 1988, the party had never been audited and had never filed annual accounts, the ministry added. At the start of the hearing, the ministry's lawyer Faouzi Ben Mrad called for "the dissolution of the RCD and seizure of its goods inside and outside of the country, which were acquired through despoiling the people's money." The interim government set up after Ben Ali quit announced late January that the state had taken possession of all RCD property. The activities of the party, tied up in all facets of Tunisian life including business, were suspended on February 6 in an order that banned it from meeting and shut its offices. The RCD had already removed Ben Ali as its leader, never replacing him. As its candidate in the 2009 presidential election, he took 89.62 percent of the vote. Its imposing headquarters in the heart of the capital was one of the first symbolic targets of the revolt that rose up from the impoverished provinces and spread to Tunis in defiance of a deadly crackdown. "It's only now that we can celebrate the fall of Ben Ali... (he) continued to haunt us through this police party," said Amjad, who came from Bizerte especially to hear the court's verdict. Ben Ali's ouster inspired uprisings across the Arab world, toppling the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on February 11 with a similar revolt in Libya trying to remove Moamer Kadhafi. The interim government struggling to put Tunisia back on track has fixed an election for July 24 to choose an assembly to write a new post-revolution constitution, as demanded by its opponents. The country's new premier, Beji Caid Essebsi, unveiled Monday his government line-up free, for the first time, of any ministers from the Ben Ali era.