Tunisia Protests

Published January 19th, 2011 - 12:41 GMT

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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.

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People holding a Tunisian flag during a protest in Tunis.
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Image 1 of 14:  1 / 14People holding a Tunisian flag during a protest in Tunis.

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A member of the Tunisian security forces takes aim towards a Tunisian demonstrator who prepares to throw a rock towards them during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid.
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Image 2 of 14:  2 / 14A member of the Tunisian security forces takes aim towards a Tunisian demonstrator who prepares to throw a rock towards them during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid.

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A man lies injuried during a demonstration.
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Image 3 of 14:  3 / 14A man lies injuried during a demonstration.

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A Tunisian demonstrator prepares to throw a tear-gas canister during clashes with security forces.
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Image 4 of 14:  4 / 14A Tunisian demonstrator prepares to throw a tear-gas canister during clashes with security forces.

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A woman cries in front of the prefecture as she waits with other people to meet the governor. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali described weekend rioting as 'terrorist acts' and blamed 'gangs of thugs' for the explosion of violence.
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Image 5 of 14:  5 / 14A woman cries in front of the prefecture as she waits with other people to meet the governor. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali described weekend rioting as "terrorist acts" and blamed "gangs of thugs" for the explosion of violence.

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A 2,55 million CAD mansion bought in 2008 by Nesrine Ben Ali, daughter of Tunisia president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and her spouse, the tycoon Sakher El Materi, is seen in Montreal.
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Image 6 of 14:  6 / 14A 2,55 million CAD mansion bought in 2008 by Nesrine Ben Ali, daughter of Tunisia president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and her spouse, the tycoon Sakher El Materi, is seen in Montreal.

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A fire at a residence said to be owned by a member of Tunisian President Ben Ali's inner circle on the sideline of anti-government protests at the chic Mediterranean resort.
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Image 7 of 14:  7 / 14A fire at a residence said to be owned by a member of Tunisian President Ben Ali's inner circle on the sideline of anti-government protests at the chic Mediterranean resort.

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A Tunisian family watches TV as Tunisian President Ben Ali gives his speech. Police opened fire on demonstrators in the centre of the Tunisian capital Thursday, killing at least one person, witnesses said.
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Image 8 of 14:  8 / 14A Tunisian family watches TV as Tunisian President Ben Ali gives his speech. Police opened fire on demonstrators in the centre of the Tunisian capital Thursday, killing at least one person, witnesses said.

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Smoke rises from fire left after clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Tunis after Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's address to the nation.
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Image 9 of 14:  9 / 14Smoke rises from fire left after clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Tunis after Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's address to the nation.

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Men burn a picture of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as they demonstrate against Ben Ali in Paris.
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Image 10 of 14:  10 / 14Men burn a picture of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as they demonstrate against Ben Ali in Paris.

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A Tunisian employee of the Prime ministry removes a portrait of former Tunisian president Ben Ali.
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Image 11 of 14:  11 / 14A Tunisian employee of the Prime ministry removes a portrait of former Tunisian president Ben Ali.

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Residents run to take goods from a destroyed store. There were scenes of looting overnight in the suburbs of Tunis.
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Image 12 of 14:  12 / 14Residents run to take goods from a destroyed store. There were scenes of looting overnight in the suburbs of Tunis.

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Tunisian presidential bodyguards stand guard by the president's office.
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Image 13 of 14:  13 / 14Tunisian presidential bodyguards stand guard by the president's office.

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A Tunisian soldier shakes hands with Tunisian people in la Kasbah of Tunis.
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Image 14 of 14:  14 / 14A Tunisian soldier shakes hands with Tunisian people in la Kasbah of Tunis.

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1

People holding a Tunisian flag during a protest in Tunis.

Image 1 of 14People holding a Tunisian flag during a protest in Tunis.

2

A member of the Tunisian security forces takes aim towards a Tunisian demonstrator who prepares to throw a rock towards them during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid.

Image 2 of 14A member of the Tunisian security forces takes aim towards a Tunisian demonstrator who prepares to throw a rock towards them during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid.

3

A man lies injuried during a demonstration.

Image 3 of 14A man lies injuried during a demonstration.

4

A Tunisian demonstrator prepares to throw a tear-gas canister during clashes with security forces.

Image 4 of 14A Tunisian demonstrator prepares to throw a tear-gas canister during clashes with security forces.

5

A woman cries in front of the prefecture as she waits with other people to meet the governor. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali described weekend rioting as 'terrorist acts' and blamed 'gangs of thugs' for the explosion of violence.

Image 5 of 14A woman cries in front of the prefecture as she waits with other people to meet the governor. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali described weekend rioting as "terrorist acts" and blamed "gangs of thugs" for the explosion of violence.

6

A 2,55 million CAD mansion bought in 2008 by Nesrine Ben Ali, daughter of Tunisia president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and her spouse, the tycoon Sakher El Materi, is seen in Montreal.

Image 6 of 14A 2,55 million CAD mansion bought in 2008 by Nesrine Ben Ali, daughter of Tunisia president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and her spouse, the tycoon Sakher El Materi, is seen in Montreal.

7

A fire at a residence said to be owned by a member of Tunisian President Ben Ali's inner circle on the sideline of anti-government protests at the chic Mediterranean resort.

Image 7 of 14A fire at a residence said to be owned by a member of Tunisian President Ben Ali's inner circle on the sideline of anti-government protests at the chic Mediterranean resort.

8

A Tunisian family watches TV as Tunisian President Ben Ali gives his speech. Police opened fire on demonstrators in the centre of the Tunisian capital Thursday, killing at least one person, witnesses said.

Image 8 of 14A Tunisian family watches TV as Tunisian President Ben Ali gives his speech. Police opened fire on demonstrators in the centre of the Tunisian capital Thursday, killing at least one person, witnesses said.

9

Smoke rises from fire left after clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Tunis after Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's address to the nation.

Image 9 of 14Smoke rises from fire left after clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Tunis after Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's address to the nation.

10

Men burn a picture of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as they demonstrate against Ben Ali in Paris.

Image 10 of 14Men burn a picture of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as they demonstrate against Ben Ali in Paris.

11

A Tunisian employee of the Prime ministry removes a portrait of former Tunisian president Ben Ali.

Image 11 of 14A Tunisian employee of the Prime ministry removes a portrait of former Tunisian president Ben Ali.

12

Residents run to take goods from a destroyed store. There were scenes of looting overnight in the suburbs of Tunis.

Image 12 of 14Residents run to take goods from a destroyed store. There were scenes of looting overnight in the suburbs of Tunis.

13

Tunisian presidential bodyguards stand guard by the president's office.

Image 13 of 14Tunisian presidential bodyguards stand guard by the president's office.

14

A Tunisian soldier shakes hands with Tunisian people in la Kasbah of Tunis.

Image 14 of 14A Tunisian soldier shakes hands with Tunisian people in la Kasbah of Tunis.

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