The Sidi Bouzid revolution: Ben Ali flees as protests spread in Tunisia

The Sidi Bouzid revolution: Ben Ali flees as protests spread in Tunisia

Friday 14 January 2011 -- After a dramatic 24 hours when Tunisia's dictator president Ben Ali first tried promising liberalisation and an end to police shootings of demonstrators and then, this evening at 16:00, declaring martial law, he has finally fallen from office. While the rumours are still swirling, one thing is clear, Ben Ali has left Tunisia and the army has stepped in. The comments after this article contain continuous updates of the uprising.

The day began with a mass demonstration called by Tunisia's trade union federation, the UGTT, in the capital Tunis. Between 10 and 15,000 people demonstrated outside the Ministry of the Interior. The initially peaceful scene broke down at around 14:30 local time as police moved in with tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd, some of whom had managed to scale the Ministry building and get on its roof. From then on, the city centre descended into chaos with running battles between the riot police and Tunisians of all ages and backgrounds fighting for the overthrow of the hated despot.

Finally, armoured cars from the army appeared on the street and a state of emergency and curfew was declared with Ben Ali threatening the populace that the security forces had carte blanche to open fire on any gatherings of more than three people. Soon, however, he disappeared from view and the rumours began to circulate. The army seized control of the airport and there were reports of convoys of limousines racing to the airport from the Ben Ali families palace. Finally the official announcement came. Ben Ali is gone. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi appeared on state TV to announce that he was in charge of a caretaker government backed by the army.

Tonight the long-suffering people of Tunisia may rejoice that their last four weeks of heroic resistance has finally seen off the dictator who ran the most vicious police state in North Africa over them for the last 23 years.

But tomorrow morning will find the army in charge. What will happen tomorrow and the days to follow is anybody's guess. But the people now know that they have the power to overthrow a long-entrenched dictatorship, how much easier to take on a new unstable regime.

Report by Workers Solidarity Movement

Posted By

Jan 12 2011 00:41


Attached files


Feb 5 2011 20:50

Unconfirmed report on EA liveblog

2030 GMT: Two protesters were killed in northern Tunisia after police opened fire on protesters, it is being reported. We have no direct confirmation from Tunisian authorities, though. 
Feb 5 2011 23:26


Four people died in clashes between protesters and police in the northwestern Tunisian town of Kef on Saturday, union activists and witnesses said.

Several hundred demonstrators had been calling for the city's police chief, Khaled Ghazouani, to be sacked for abuse of power, the government news agency TAP reported.

The situation degenerated when Ghazouani slapped one of the protesters and the crowd tried to rush the police station and set it ablaze.

Police opened fire, killing two demonstrators, aged 19 and 36, and seriously wounding three others, said union sources and an interior ministry source.

Two of those injured later died of their wounds, union activists and a local resident told AFP later Saturday.

A union source said Ghazouni had subsequently been arrested and the situation was calm late Saturday.

The official TAP news agency meanwhile reported the arrests of two members of the security forces suspected over the deaths of two detainees in Sidi Bouzid, in the centre of the country.

On Friday, several hundred people had demonstrated in front of the police station there after medical staff at the local hospital said they had found burn marks on the victims' bodies.

In the ensuing unrest they had burned three police cars, a witnessed told AFP.

In Tunis meanwhile, dozens of members of Tunisia's main trade union rallied calling for a shakeup of its hierarchy.

"Get lost rotten managers!" members of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) chanted in front of the union's Tunis headquarters, calling on its secretary general Abdessalem Jrad to step down.

"We ousted (Tunisian president Zine El Abidine) Ben Ali, the time has come to settle accounts with the UGTT's bureaucratic management which flirts with the transitional government and betrays its base," activist Habib Ayadi said.

The UGTT was a key player in the protests that ultimately ousted Ben Ali on January 14.

It briefly joined the transitional government of Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi before its members resigned -- although it has offered qualified backing of the since-reshuffled interim government.

A new splinter union, the General Confederation of Tunisian Workers (CGTT) was announced on Tuesday.

In an effort to get the country back to normal, Tunisia's transitional government announced a two-hour shortening of the curfew, which now begins at midnight and ends at 4:00 am (0300 GMT).

Only a few dozen young people still stage peaceful rallies against the former ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party on the city's central Habib Bourguiba artery, until recently the scene of massive protests.

At one end, a few armoured vehicles belonging to the army are parked in front of the interior ministry. But the machine guns once stationed there are absent.

Feb 6 2011 21:38

Photo from Sidi Bouzid today - I'm not really sure what this is about

Edit: see last paragraph of next post

Feb 6 2011 21:36

One dead in fresh anti-government unrest

Tunisian minister suspends ex-ruling party

Tunisia's interior minister on Sunday suspended all activities of the country's former ruling party amid the most serious protests since the country's autocratic president fled into exile less than a month ago.

Fahrat Rajhi suspended all meetings of the Democratic Constitutional Rally, known as the RCD, and ordered all party offices or meeting places it owns closed — ahead of a demand to dissolve the party, a ministry statement said.


The announcement came hours after crowds pillaged, then burned a police station in the northwestern city of Kef a day after police shot dead at least two demonstrators. It was the worst violence in Tunisia since Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, ending 23 years in power.

Protests have also erupted in other corners of the North African country, which is being run by a caretaker government before presidential elections to be held in six to seven months.


Crowds attacked a police station in Kef on Sunday, pillaging documents and equipment and setting it afire, TAP reported. The army responded by encircling local government buildings to protect them, but tension was high.


In Kebili, in the south, a youth hit by a tear gas canister was killed. He was among a group of demonstrators trying to attack a National Guard post to protest the appointment of a local governor, the news agency reported.

In the mining town of Gafsa in the center-west, the newly appointed governor, Mohamed Gouider, was forced to leave his new post in a military vehicle provided by the army amid a large demonstration by crowds demanding his departure and a "total rupture with the symbols of the old regime," TAP reported.

Similar demonstrations were held in several other towns, from Sfax, the southern capital, to Bizerte, 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of Tunis.


In an especially sensitive weekend protest, hundreds of people took to the streets in the central-western town of Sidi Bouzid — where the uprising got its start in December.

Hundreds of people protested Saturday after two inmates in a neighborhood police station were killed in a fire late Friday, TAP reported.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze was ordered, but Rajhi, the interior minister, speaking Saturday on the private Nessma TV station, left open the possibility that the fire was the work of "infiltrated persons" — a reference to the RCD.


On Sunday, a 4-kilometer-long (2.50-mile-long) caravan of cars and buses arrived in Sid Bouzid bearing aid for the population, TAP reported. Similar convoys are planned for other rural areas that felt forgotten by Ben Ali's regime.

Feb 7 2011 10:41

Video: Sidi Bouzid yesterday

On twitter

Protest today in Tunis in front of Parliament against illegitimate leaders and Ben Ali accomplices

Demonstration in front of the parliament

Protests in Nabeul against PM Ghannouchi and Newly appointed Governor

Jemdouba: Citizens took over the state HQ and asked the new governor to leave

Feb 7 2011 21:51

Congressional Research Service: political transition in Tunisia (pdf)

Guardian live updates

5.49pm: What does the aftermath of revolution feel like? Egyptians can only dream at the moment but one of our commenters below the line, @HendTunis, has been painting a picture of what life is like in Tunisia at the moment in two posts:
Our main street has been renamed "Martyr Mohamed Bouazizi", instead of "7 Novembre"- the day on which ZABA (Zine Abidine Ben Ali) achieved his coup ousting the former president Habib Bourguiba in 1987. Even the new Nfidha airport changed its name, not officially yet, but the people with their banners and buckets of paint are renaming the boulevards all over Tunisia.

Still in the thick of the revolt, I can't really see the whole
picture: it was, and still is- a mixture of:

+liberal slogans for citizenship rights, democracy and freedom

+leftist spirit with trade unionists, unemployed and impoverished 
people calling for wealth redistribution and workers' rights

+68 France as my students, many of them wrapped in Che Guevara flags,
criticized the educational system and that is THEIR turn to change 
society and culture. They've started making films, documentaries,

+at the same time, many images are a reminiscence of the Palestinian 
Intifada: Martyrs, hurling stones, burning tyres, singing Marcel
 Khalife's and Julia Boutros's songs... very 1980s that is.

We haven't finished yet. We are all speaking out and criticizing. As a Tunisian journalist said: under Ben Ali we used to complain from constipation, now it's freedom of speech diarrhea. But, that's a bit healthy I think.

A good sign against any regression -dictatorial, religious or jingoistic- is a real free press. The minister of culture on TV yesterday, the UNESCO scholar Ezzedine Bach Chaouech, urged journalists to be the watchdogs and bulwarks of this uprising. A journalist answered he'd immolate himself if anyone or any party would confiscate what we have done. I think many will be ready to do it.

Every institution should be under scrutiny, corrupt CEOs are being sacked by their own employees, Interior Ministry high-ranked officials were fired -46 of them... Many changes but we are still asking for more.

Feb 7 2011 22:19

Union leader speaks out against UGTT recognition of Ghannouchi government

Tunisia calls up reserve troops amid unrest

Tunisia protest town fears for unfinished revolution

Few places better illustrate the problems of Tunisia's unfinished revolution than Kasserine, a lawless and poverty-stricken border town nestled below mountains on the Algerian frontier, nearly 200 miles south-west of Tunis. For centuries a bastion of rebellion and unrest, the rural town of 100,000 people had the highest death toll of the revolution after Ben Ali's police snipers were ordered to shoot to kill to quell street demonstrations. Far from the golden tourist coast, Kasserine has the highest unemployment, crime rate, suicide levels and divorce figures in Tunisia.

Jobs are so scarce that much of the population survives from the smuggling of petrol, cigarettes and hashish over the Algerian border. Makeshift stands sell jerrycans of contraband fuel for £1 a throw.

Kasserine was at the forefront of Tunisia's historic January uprising, the first time in the Arab world that people on the streets have ousted a brutal dictator. The country's hope of becoming the first true Arab democracy spread across the region, inspiring Egypt's revolt. But as the world spotlight turns to Cairo, Tunisia's rural interior fears its revolution could disintegrate.

The town now finds itself at the heart of the attempts by Ben Ali's former ruling RCD party to stir fresh violence to disrupt the revolution. In the past three days, at least five people have died in Tunisia in the worst violence since Ben Ali fled on January 14. The interim government has blamed the wave of violence on a plot by old figures in the RCD party to stir panic and damage the revolution.

Last week in Kasserine at least 1,000 thugs descended on the town centre, ransacking schools, smashing buildings, attacking the court-house and robbing at knifepoint, left to run riot through the town by the lack of police. "This was a war of terrorism," said local lawyer Bedma Askri. "The RCD paid criminals and thugs around 15 dinars each [£5] to do this.

"In some cases, they just plied them with alcohol in exchange for violence. That's poverty for you, when someone will smash up a town and terrify people in exchange for a drink."

Anti-RCD demonstrators took to the streets of Kasserine and the chaos spread. Further north along the Algerian border in Kef, crowds rose up this weekend after police shot dead two demonstrators protesting against security forces. Government buildings were ransacked and burned in protest at the deaths. In Kebili, in the south, a youth hit by a teargas canister was killed as anti-police demonstrations were violently put down. Protests spread to Sidi Bouzid, near Kasserine, where the revolution began in December when an unemployed graduate set himself alight.

Elsewhere across Tunisia, from Sfax on the coast to Bizerte north of Tunis, crowds protested against the appointment of new local governors they said were RCD cronies. In a desperate attempt to calm tensions, the interim government finally caved in to demands to dissolve the RCD party, symbol of the old regime, taking the first steps to suspend party activities.


For lawyers, trade unionists and opposition politicians, Kasserine will be the true test of Tunisia's revolution, which has seen more than 200 dead and more than 500 injured, as well as rapes and disappearances. "It's only here, in this forsaken region, that you'll be able to judge whether it has worked, whether the acute inequality of Tunisia is over and the old regime finally finished," Bouazi said. "The regime's head has been cut off but the beast is still breathing. For now, the demonstrations will continue."

Kasserine's trade unionists are planning more local protests against the interim government's appointment of regional governors seen as still craven towards the old regime. In the mining heartland of Gafsa, one new governor has already been forced from his offices under army escort after locals rose up in revolt…

Feb 8 2011 10:20
Jason Cortez
Feb 8 2011 20:21

Thanks for keeping on reporting what's happening in Tunisia, now everyone is looking at Egypt

Feb 8 2011 22:31

Reports on twitter of trouble in Sousse today

Today, a huge number of militias(ex-ruling party members&corrupted cops& hired criminals) attacked Sousse and tried to afraid the citizens!

Some of the attackers were killed by the army or arrested and others escaped!

Feb 8 2011 22:55

Tunisia finds its voice - Issandr el Amrani

New signs of unrest

There were new signs of unrest in provincial Tunisian towns Tuesday with many protesters demanding that regional governors step down because they had ties to ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s administration, while gunshots were fired in the center of the Tunisian capital.


In the town of Gafsa, near the border with Algeria, a high school attended by around 1,500 pupils caught fire in an apparent arson attack, official media reported.

Two trade union sources in Gassrine, about 250 kilometers southwest of Tunis, told Reuters several hundred people were blocking the highway into the town to protest at what they said was neglect by the central government.

The sources said the governor of the Gassrine region, who was only appointed a few days ago in a purge of regional officials, stepped down Monday under pressure from protesters who besieged his office.

Demonstrators also forced out the newly appointed governor of Gafsa region Tuesday, the official TAP news agency reported.

In a deal meant to defuse the tension, Tunisia’s biggest trade union said it had agreed with the government that all governors with ties to the former ruling party would be removed.

In Tunis, workers at the Foreign Ministry were on strike for a second day to demand that the minister, Ahmad Ounaiss, resign. He angered many Tunisians with comments they felt showed he did not fully support Tunisia’s change of ruler.

The gunshots Tuesday were the first time shooting had been heard in the capital for at least two weeks.

Three witnesses told Reuters they heard shooting coming from streets near Avenue Bourguiba, the main thoroughfare in Tunis, but none could see who was responsible.

"I heard sporadic gunfire,” one of the witnesses, who was near the Tunis city government building, told Reuters. Soon after, the area was back to normal with no signs of any disturbances.

In the past few days violence has flared up again, with at least five people killed since Friday in clashes between police and protesters in provincial towns. Army reservists have been called up to help restore order...

Feb 8 2011 23:01

Just saw police beating a man on Avenue Habib Bourguiba (from hotel window). Strange people wandering around on street.

Political Police in #Tunisia busy arresting opponents, bringing chaos to every anti-gov peaceful protest and watching activists

Feb 9 2011 10:53

There's an element of repetition in what follows, but it seems like there's a pattern emerging here of castigating "the mob" as paid goons of an RCD conspiracy, when the detail suggests that what the mob is actually protesting about is the cops and the now officially "not RCD any more" government.

le Parisien: Tunisie : encore des violences dans plusieurs villes

Police station burnt down in Kef

Moreover, in Kef (NW Tunisia), the building housing the police headquarters was engulfed in flames Sunday afternoon, according to a union spokesman, Raouf Hadaoui. It states that "bands of youths attacked and looted the commisariat" before setting fire to the police building. The army was deployed to assist rescue work."This created panic in town", the witness described. "Several police cars were burned and the fire threatened several homes". He referred also to an incessant ballet of ambulances*. The official agencies confirmed the fire and the deployment of forces, adding that the demonstrators captured documents and equipment at police headquarters.

The day before, already, the Kef has seen violent clashes between police and protesters demanding the departure from the local police chief accused of abuse of power. The clashes left four dead and fifteen wounded, according to union sources. The return to calm in the morning on Sunday did not last. According to Rauf Hadaoui, young looters are "paid by the RCD (former ruling party. Ed) to cause trouble."

Two deaths in police custody in Sidi Bouzid

Finally, Friday in Sidi Bouzid, two people died in mysterious circumstances in the police station where they were detained. The bodies bearing signs of burns were brought to the regional hospital of the city and the circumstances of their deaths are not known. They were identified by witnesses as Aden Hammami and Ridha Nsiri Bakari. Several hundred angry protesters gathered outside the post after the death and set fire to three police cars before firefighters.

[* probably best as 'parade of ambulances', but ballet was too cool to translate]

Note the use of the union official to label the protesters as goons paid by RCD. Another source mentions Raouf Hadoui was backed up in this claim by another union boss, Abdelatif Bouguera.

le Figaro: Tunisie: des gouverneurs chahutés


The new governor of the region of Sousse (150 km south of Tunis) in Tunisia has now been forced to leave his offices by an angry mob who demanded his departure because of his affiliation with the party of former president Ben Ali, RCD, TAP reported. During the day, several shops in the city were vandalized and looted "by a group of people armed with knives and clubs," said the Tunisian agency.

In the nearby resort town of Monastir, demonstrators also demanded the resignation for the same reasons the governor recently appointed by the transitional authorities in Tunisia. The same scene was repeated in Medenine (south) where hundreds of people massed in front of the governorate.

In the mining area of west-central, the newly appointed governor of Gafsa, Mohamed Gouider had already suffered the same fate Sunday and was exfiltrated from its offices aboard an army car. After cleaning the police inherited from the ousted president, the government had continued Wednesday purging the state apparatus by replacing the 24 provincial governors.

These appointments were quickly challenged, 19 individuals selected as members or relatives of the Democratic Constitutional Rally.

"The people can read CVs," commented ironically Tuesday newspaper La Presse de Tunisie in an editorial.

AFP: Tunisie: le gouvernement avance à petit pas, l'armée rappelle des réservistes

Since the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, the transitional government of Mohammed Ghannouchi is facing strong pressures and numerous challenges, first in Tunis and then across the province.

Tuesday, between 400 and 500 people entered the building of the governorate of Tunis to demand work and welfare.

Each bout of fever, the police is missing and it is the army that restores and maintains order, most recently in Kasserine, Gafsa (center-west) or Kef (northwest).

Several ministers have gone so far as to declare, these last days, a "conspiracy" against the revolution, which they believe to be the work of followers or henchmen of the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) party of former president .

During a debate Monday at the National Assembly, called to disempower itself to allow Acting President Fouad Mebazaa to organize the transition by decree-law, Mohammed Ghannouchi also highlighted the "dangers" threatening the country because "There are people who want to drag Tunisia backwards.

So the government are no longer the RCD and the protesters now trying to get them out are part of an RCD conspiracy against the revolution. And the UGTT agree. Just so we're clear on that.

Feb 9 2011 17:26

More on that power-of-decree story

AA: Tunisia leader gets wide powers

Tunisia's Senate agreed unanimously Wednesday to grant wide powers to the interim president struggling to restore order to the country following the overthrow of ex-leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The upper house followed the lead of the lower house of parliament which on Monday authorised interim president Foued Mebazaa to rule by decree.

"We are coming under social pressure because of the demands of the people for improvements to their situation," caretaker Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi told the house before the vote.

"But it has to be taken into account that the state is not yet capable of responding to all these demands. We do not have a magic wand."
The measures voted by parliament empowers Mebazaa to sidestep the assembly made up mostly of followers of Ben Ali and decide key issues by decree, relating notably to the transition to democracy and the holding of elections within six months.

These include a possible general amnesty, human rights legislation, the organisation of political parties and a new electoral code.

Ghannouchi said that parties banned under Ben Ali would be made legal within days ahead of "transparent and fair elections with the participation of all the parties."

The transitional government has banned Ben Ali's ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Assembly, and accused loyalists of the former leader ousted on January 14 of attempting to foment unrest so as to block the transition to democracy.

Feb 10 2011 15:40

Just to fill in some gaps in information here and there:

On Monday 7th, the demonstration outside Parliament apparently involved a blockade aimed at preventing the MPs from getting into Parliament where the power-by-decree law was being proposed (considering that this power-by-decree law is being presented as something that

"empowers Mebazaa to sidestep the assembly made up mostly of followers of Ben Ali and decide key issues by decree, relating notably to the transition to democracy and the holding of elections within six months"

it's not clear to me whether this is just a bullshit justification which the demonstration was opposing, or whether the demonstrators support the old government party, which seems unlikely; any ideas?).

Same day an RCD building in Tozeur was set on fire.

8th Feb:
In Bizerte the army intervened to allow the governor to retake his offices.
In Kairouan, the main road leading to the centre of town was blocked by demonstrators who set fire to tyres and looted a service station before the army came and fired warning shots.
In Gabès and in Nabeul, the new governors were forced to leave their government buildings, protected by the military. In Kébili, the governor left the county.
In La Manouba, there were protests by temp workers and building workers.
In Zaghouan, high school students and council workers managed to get the governor to quit.
Demonstrations in front of the governors' HQs in Siliana, Medenine, Monastir and Tozeur.
In Béja, the governor also quit his post after a sit-in.
In Ariana, during a similar demonstration, youths tried to seize the governor's HQ but were repulsed by the army.
In Sousse, depots of the port were looted and demonstrators also managed to get the governor to quit.
In the Hichria area of Sidi Bouzid, after the forbidding of a peaceful march and warning shots in the air by the cops, the building of the national guard, and the residence and car of the chief of the national guard, were set on fire as well as the HQ of "l'association d'intérêt commun" ( translation: "the association of common interests"). There was some looting as well.
Teachers' strikes in Sfax and transport drivers strikes in Bizerte.

Information in French gleaned here (of course we never know how much of this is exaggerated or misleading in some other way; these sites get their information from all over the place and can't possibly check them up):


Feb 11 2011 12:14

France refuses to allow Tunisian activists in (Edu factory)

For the free circulation of struggling people!

February 11th – 13th hundreds of students and precarious workers from Europe’s Universities are meeting to exchange, debate and organize common struggles at the European Meeting of University Struggles. This meeting is also welcoming activists from non-European countries because the struggle against the dismantling of the university, austerity politics and precariousness is common to us all. Tunisian students who participated in the movement against Ben Ali’s dictatorship and members of the Pan-Africa Student Movement in Gambia were refused the visas that would have allowed their entrance in French Territory, so they will not be able to participate in the Meeting.

This limitation of the freedom of circulation that European politics is imposing is unacceptable. This is, evidently, a political stance against social movements that, from Maghreb to the rest of the world, are struggling for freedom.

This is why Friday, February 11th, we will be in front of the Tunisian Embassy in France, in rue Barbet de Jouy, to call for a Europe without borders and for the free circulation of struggling people.

The European Meeting against Austerity, Paris – Saint-Denis

Feb 18 2011 18:13

From Reuters

FEATURE-Tunisia's long-hidden poor seize public land

TUNIS, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Near an olive grove on the outskirts of Tunisia's seaside capital, men stack walls of bricks on muddy earth and fasten roofs of tin and plastic against the wind-blown rain.

They are a few of the Mediterranean country's many poor who have become squatters since an uprising toppled the president -- making use of post-revolution confusion to build on public land and move into vacant or half-completed buildings.

"Ben Ali's regime stole everything. They had no heart and ignored us poor," said one of the men, who identified himself only as Khaled, 57. "Now we are here for all to see, and we hope the new government will help us."

The caretaker government has warned the growing number of squatters they could be prosecuted, though there has been little police presence in this once-popular tourist destination since President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted last month.
Dozens of other public plots and vacant buildings are also being occupied across the country, according to state media -- a trend that prompted a warning from the Interior Ministry, a body deeply feared during Ben Ali's rule.

"The Interior Minister calls on all who have carried out these acts to leave the homes they have taken illegally and to halt all unauthorised building," it said in a communique issued earlier this week. "We cannot permit anyone to use the revolution as a reason to break the law. The law, above all."

The construction in Mnihla continues.

A woman calling herself only 'Mother of Rashid' for fear of prosecution, tended a small plot of onions near her brick hut.

"The people around here are sympathetic to us because they know this is the fault of the Ben Ali regime," she said. "The people in these houses give us water," she said, pointing to a middle-class neighbourhood 100 metres away.

also, apropos de rien, this from Guardian thread

11.01am: My colleague Jack Shenker in Cairo tells me this is the T-shirt all the Tunisian hipsters are wearing right now:

Feb 20 2011 12:58


Tunisian security forces fired in the air on Sunday in a vain attempt to disperse tens of thousands of demonstrators in the capital calling for a new interim government, a Reuters witness said.

It was the second straight day of mass protests in the North African country's main city, in defiance of a government ban on rallies, after a lull following the popular uprising last month which overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

After weeks of relative calm, as many as 40,000 marchers gathered in front of the prime minister's building shouting slogans such as "Leave!" and "We don't want the friends of Ben Ali!" Others were demanding pay rises.

Security forces fired several times in the air, while two military helicopters circled low over the rally, the Reuters witness said. The protesters remained in place and there was no sign that anyone had been injured.


The Interior Ministry said on Saturday that mass demonstrations were forbidden under state of emergency laws and protesters could be arrested.

More than 15,000 protesters clogged central Tunis on Saturday, most of them chanting anti-Islamist slogans after the murder of a priest the government blamed on "a group of terrorist fascists with extremist tendencies," and a series of Islamist protests against brothels.

The two days of protests end a stretch of relative calm in the capital since early February...

Feb 22 2011 00:13

Alma Allende

Laicismo y democracia ----- machine translation

Otra vez la Qasba ----- machine translation


English translations of other articles on Tunisia by Alma Allende

If you haven't read them in the Spanish or struggled through the machine translations these are worth looking at.

Feb 25 2011 16:51
Feb 25 2011 23:21

Tunis today...

Feb 25 2011 23:23


Feb 26 2011 15:42

Police fire tear gas to disperse new Tunisia protest

The protest followed clashes between police and protesters at the same location on Friday that the ministry said left 21 police officers injured and three police stations damaged, an AFP reporter said.

Large numbers of police moved quickly to disperse Saturday's protest and men in civilian clothes and masks, armed with clubs, were seen moving through the streets searching for protesters.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets on Friday demanding the resignation of the country's interim prime minister, an ally of ousted leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.