Tunisia. In the aftermath of the so-called Jasmine
Revolution in 2011, many Tunisians expressed their
disappointment at missing changes. According to
countryaah, some, including academics
and miners, demonstrated during the spring under the
auspices of the union against the high unemployment. At the
end of November, police in the town of Siliana, 12 miles
south of Tunis, intervened with violence against protesters
demanding action against unemployment. At least 200 people
were injured. At other times, women protested against
restrictions on women's rights and against the government's
suggestion that women in the country's new constitution
should be described as a "complement" to men.
Other dissatisfied, especially young men, turned to the
most dogmatic branch of Islam, Salafism. that Islamic law
should be introduced. One person was killed in June when
salafists attacked, among other things. police stations and
trade union offices in protest of an art exhibit they deemed
blasphemed Islam. In September, two protesters were killed
at the US Embassy in Tunis, protesting against an
Islamophobic movie clip on the YouTube website. When
salafists attacked a police station in October, another
person was reported to have been killed.
A commission commissioned to produce a proposal for a new
media law resigned in July in protest of what it meant was
government censorship. The government had dismissed several
senior executives in the public service media, something
criticized by the Reporters Without Borders organization.
Many young men left in boats across the Mediterranean to
try to get work in especially Italy. In October, such a ship
with at least 100 people capsized and only 56 were found
Sequence of events
The rebellion in Tunisia erupted in response to an
incident in the city of Sidi Bouzid, central to the country.
There, the young street vendor of fruits and vegetables set
fire to Mohamed Bouazizi, after being impeached by a
politician, December 17, 2010. Bouazizi died of the injuries
on January 4, 2011.
The incident in Sidi Bouzid led to protests the following
day, first locally, then elsewhere, including in Sfax,
Sousse, Monastir and Gafsa, in addition to the capital
Tunis. The police brutality towards the non-violent
protesters helped increase the rebellion. Several protesters
were injured and others killed in the first few days. A
later National Inquiry Commission found that 132 people were
killed and 1452 wounded from the uprising began on December
17, 2010 and until the president resigned, January 14, 2011.
Other sources have stated over three hundred dead.
President Ben Ali first accused the rebels of being
extremists and mercenaries and threatened reprisals. Driven
on the defensive by the growing rebellion, he then made some
concessions in an attempt to curb the turmoil. He removed
Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem, but made it clear that
he himself would continue. Schools and universities were
closed in an attempt to curb the uprising.
On January 13, the president announced that he would not
run for re-election in 2014, as one of several measures to
meet the rebels. He also promised to ease restrictions on
internet use, reduce food prices, create new jobs and that
the police would not use sharp ammunition against protesters
other than in self-defense.
The protests escalated, and on January 14, a state of
emergency was introduced, with a ban on public gatherings,
at the same time as the government was dissolved and new
elections promised within six months. Nor did this satisfy
the growing resistance, which was not least directed at the
president himself. Later that day, January 14, 2011, he
chose to resign and exile in Saudi Arabia, after 23 years in
Tunisian power. A decisive factor that helped to quickly
escape the country was that the army stood behind the rebels
- and loyal to the president against the security forces.
There was an exchange of gunfire between the two military
Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi took power, for January
15 to be replaced as acting head of state by parliament
president Fouad Mebazaa. Both of these were members of the
dominant party to which the deposed president also belonged:
Rassemblement constitutionel démocratique (RCD).
The uprising continued, among other things, against the RCD
and against members of this party taking central positions
in the new transitional government established by Ghannouchi
on 17 January.
In this, the opposition also took place; several of these
then resigned, in protest of the participation of members of
the former RCD government. The rebels also demanded that the
RCD be disbanded, which happened on March 9. In a government
change on January 27, all RCD members were removed, but
Prime Minister Ghannouchi himself remained until February
27. Then Beji took over Caid-Essebsi as prime minister.
Prior to this, new demonstrations were directed at the
government, demanding the introduction of parliamentary
rule, and for Ghannouchi to step down. The 24 regional
governors were removed and replaced in February.
Deputy President Ben Ali was sentenced in absentia
in June 2011 and sentenced to 35 years in prison for theft
of state property; He was then sentenced to life in prison
for participating in the assassination of protesters.
Several others were also convicted of murder.