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TUNISIA. Origins of the arab spring. Country profile. Won independence from France in 1956. POPULATION: 10.6 million CAPITAL: Tunis, population 760,000 RELIGION: Sunni Islam is the faith of over 98 per cent of the population LANGUAGE: Arabic is the official language. leadership.

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Origins of the arab spring

country profile
Country profile

Won independence from France in 1956.

  • POPULATION: 10.6 million
  • CAPITAL: Tunis, population 760,000
  • RELIGION: Sunni Islam is the faith of over 98 per cent of the population
  • LANGUAGE: Arabic is the official language
  • Tunisia was led for three decades by HabibBourguiba, who advanced secular ideas. These included emancipation for women - women's rights in Tunisia are among the most advanced in the Arab world - the abolition of polygamy and compulsory free education.
  • MrBourguiba insisted on an anti-Islamic fundamentalist line, while increasing his own powers to become a virtual dictator.
  • Zine El Abidine Ben Ali took over as president in 1987 after having Bourguiba - 84 years old at the time - declared medically unfit to rule.
leadership under ben ali
Leadership under ben ali
  • Tunisia took a moderately pro-Western stance.
  • US had known Ben Ali's regime was deeply corrupt, but supported him nevertheless.
  • Tunisia has a special relationship with France, its former colonial ruler, and France remains Tunisia's most important trading partner.
government corruption
Government corruption
  • Ben Ali consolidated his rule by muzzling the opposition, keeping strong control of the media and armed forces and gradually extending the number of terms he was allowed to serve under the constitution.
  • Rights groups and some political opponents said Tunisia's government was authoritarian. They said it stifled free speech and beat and jailed opponents.
tunisia s uprising the beginning december 17 2010
Tunisia’s uprising-the beginningDecember 17, 2010
  • Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old fruit and vegetable seller, douses himself in paint thinner and sets himself on fire in front of a local municipal office.
  • Police had confiscated his produce cart because he lacked a permit and beat him up when he resisted. Local officials then refused to hear his complaint.
  • YouTube – Mohammed Bouazizi
tunisia s uprising timeline1
Tunisia’s uprising - timeline
  • 2010 Dec.17 – Mohammed Bouazizi lights himself on fire outside town municipal office. He would later die on Jan.5.
  • 2010 December - Protests break out over unemployment and political restrictions, and spread nationwide. Video: Tunisian protests
tunisia s uprising timeline2
Tunisia’s uprising - timeline
  • 2011 January - President Ben Ali goes into exile in Saudi Arabia amid continuing protests.
  • 2011 May - Curfew imposed amid fresh street protests.
  • 2011 June - Ex-president Ben Ali is tried in absentia for theft. He is sentenced to 35 years in prison. video
  • 2011 October - Parliamentary elections. Ennahda(a moderate Islamist party) wins but falls short of an outright majority. video
capturing tunisia s protest on video
Capturing tunisia’s protest on video
  • Most video sharing sites faced blanket censorship in Tunisia.
  • Yet many Tunisians shared videos on Facebook, via email or used proxies to break through the media blackout.
  • Here's some of what they filmed...
  • Clash between police and protesters