Weeks of violent protests fueled by corruption, widespread unemployment and a lack of liberty toppled one of the Arab world's most entrenched leaders, who fled this North African country Friday after 23 years of rule. President Zine el Abidine ben Ali handed power to his prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi. Authorities established a curfew across the nation of 10 million people, and the prime minister promised broad consultations starting Saturday on political and economic reforms. Ben Ali's departure was a major milestone in the Arab world, where longstanding authoritarian rulers exercise tight control. The Tunisian uprising, launched after a street vendor who was being hassled by security forces set himself on fire, may be the first time in recent history in which an Arab public rather than a political rival or foreign invader has managed to oust a dictator. The development, broadcast virtually nonstop across the region by satellite television channels, mesmerized the Arab world.