Arab Spring marks 7 years since protests

Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight on December 17, 2010 in a deadly protest over unemployment and police harassment that spiralled into the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Arab Spring marks 7 years since protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tunisia marked seven years on Sunday since the start of protests that spread across the region and came to be known as the Arab Spring. Although praised for its relatively peaceful transition to democracy, Tunisia is still struggling economically.

Known variously as the “Jasmine Revolution” or the “Dignity Revolution”, Tunisians from all walks of life had risen up to protest against the corruption and economic stagnation that had seen jobless figures spike to 850,000 in 2011 (up from 600,000 the year before) in a country of 10 million people.

Seven years later, the anger in the streets looks all too familiar. Tunisians demonstrated anew this week after a mother of five set herself on fire. Like many Tunisians, she was unemployed and her welfare checks had stopped a few months ago.

Such desperate acts highlight the urgency of the economic crisis still faced by many Tunisians in the wake of the revolution. Many are demanding more employment opportunities – or as they see it, the right to live with dignity.

Tensions were running high as unemployed protesters and activists marched through the streets angry over the lack of jobs and opportunities that continue to plague Sidi Bouzid.

On Saturday evening, security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators after they blocked some roads with tyres in the symbolic cradle of the revolution. 

The mood was sombre at an official event to mark the occasion on Sunday, with allegations from organisers that the authorities were trying to downplay the key date in Tunisia's recent history.

The protests that began in Sidi Bouzid unleashed a wave of revolt that continues to reverberate around the Middle East.

Tunisia has emerged from the upheavals as the one relative success story and has been praised for its steps towards democracy, but it is still dogged by political and economic turbulence.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Aralık 2017, 12:17