Jan 16, 2011

Trouble In Tunisia

What is this? Do my eyes deceive me? Nay! It would appear that after weeks of absolutely nothing happening news of a somewhat interesting nature has happened!

Tunisia is usually seen as a stable and wealthy country in comparison to others in the region but after 4 weeks of rioting things came to a head on Friday when the President Ben Ali dissolved his government and declared a state of emergency.

Protests began on 18th December when an unemployed rural graduate set himself on fire in protest to the confiscation of his vegetable cart (he died on January 4th). This sparked the beginning of a revolution against unemployment, police repression, food inflation, corruption, and poor living conditions. Protests carried on until Friday 14th January when President Ben Ali fled the country in his private jet. The Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi took over leadership of the country briefly before the constitutional council declared that the President had departed permanently and placed Fouad Mebazaa in power to form a coalition government with several opposition politicians who had been repressed, jailed and weakened under Ben Ali's rule and organise new elections for 60 days time.

Ben Ali has landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (after France rejected a request for his plane to land on its territory) and is now sheltering with the Saudi royal family as back home in Tunisia there is chaos and confusion. There are reports of knife-wielding and balaclava-clad gangs attacking flats and houses, organised groups attacking shops and factories and stolen hire cars careering around the city and suburbs, stopping only to smash and burn.

An immediate result of these events has been an increase in internet freedoms, with the Tor anonymity network reporting a surge of traffic from Tunisia.


  1. Hmm, really makes you think.

  2. Some of the craziest things can happen in a revolution lol. I mean come on, setting yourself on fire?