Also called:Jasmine Revolution; 2010-2011 Tunisian protests; Revolt of Sidi Bouzid; Sidi Bouzid intifada
The revolution is as of January 20 ongoing.
Uprising by the people, apparently without any formal groups making the initiative. The revolution ended the regime of President Ben Ali, which represented the continuation of the political system that had controlled Tunisia since independence in 1956.
The revolution happened from one incident, a young man setting himself on fire. The protests that followed grew in intensity, and while they were harshly dealt with on many occasions, a structural weakness in Tunisia showed itself. Within a few days, Tunisia went from mass protests to the president escaping the country.
Tunisia was before the revolution considered the most solid Arab Muslim country, a well-functioning society with more freedoms than most other states. There were no indications for what came to happen.
What actually happened will take some time to clarify. These are the main factors in the revolution:
- General discontent and lack of credibility in large strata of the population.
- Too much freedom within a dictatorship proving contraproductive. Too many were not enough afraid of the regime.
- An elite that had become top heavy, facing a large middle class.
- Corruption within a few families, annoying the population in general, but directly affecting the middle class, and the part of the upper class outside the elite.
- High level of education and formation, igniting demands and securing a good ability to organize.
- The Internet had brought new forms of communication in recent years. Once the process had begun, communications allowed people to communicate fast and wide.
- The symbol and signal of the self-immolation by Mohamed Bouazizi was unusually strong in the stable society that Tunisia was.
2010 December 26 year old Mohammed Bouazizi sets himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid after having his fruit cart confiscated by the police for not having the right permission.
2011 January 4: Mohammed Bouazizi dies, causing protests. The protests would increase and spread all across the country over the following days.
January 10: All schools and universities are declared to be closed indefinitely.
January 11: Ben Ali promises that 300,000 new jobs will be created, and declares that all censorship will be lifted, and the at there will be no limitation on access to the Internet. In his TV-speech his appearance is dramatically neurvous.
January 14: Ben Ali dissolves the government, and declares state of emergency. He promises elections within 6 months. Later the same day, he flees the country, attempting to arrive in Malta, France and Italy, but rejected. He lands in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
January 15: Fouad Mebazaa is appointed interim president. Elections are promised in 45 to 60 days.
January 17: A unity government is annouced. It counts 12 members of ruling RCD party, the leaders of three opposition parties, three from the labour union.
Januar 18: The three labour government members and one of the opposition party leaders resign in protest of the participation by the RCD.