Inside the Middle East
January 6, 2011
Posted: 1005 GMT
FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images) Tunisians gather to show their solidarity with the residents of Sidi Bouzid during a demonstration in Tunis.
FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images) Tunisians gather to show their solidarity with the residents of Sidi Bouzid during a demonstration in Tunis.

(CNN) – A 26-year-old unemployed man who was beaten by police and then lit himself on fire, helping spark violent demonstrations in Tunisia, has died, the Federation of Human Rights Leagues said Wednesday.
Mohamed Bouazizi died Tuesday in a hospital in Ben Arous, said Arthur Manet, spokesman for the Paris-based group known by its French acronym, FIDH.

Bouazizi was an unemployed college graduate. To earn a living, he started a fruit and vegetable stand. But he did not have a permit, and local police came after him last month, said Khadija Cherif with FIDH. "The police not only confiscated his stand, but they also beat him up," Cherif said.

Bouazizi set himself on fire, attempting suicide. He became a "symbol for all the young college graduates who were unemployed, and Bouazizi was a sort of catalyst for the violent demonstrations which followed in the Sidi Bouzid region," said Cherif. Read more...

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Filed under: Protests •Tunisia

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cayzar   January 7th, 2011 4:39 am ET

thanks for giving more echo for what is happening in this small country

Factoid   January 10th, 2011 3:17 pm ET

They beat up young men selling fruits, but turn there heads the other side when they see drug dealers!!

The police men who did this should be fired, just to feel how unemployment feels like, maybe then they will sell fruits on the road.

Joe   January 10th, 2011 6:44 pm ET

That is one of the reasons i do not live in the middle east anymore.

chikezie   January 11th, 2011 5:44 am ET

This is to show the whole the the type of police force we have.
Man inhumanity to man,the world goverment should meet and work out
Modalities how to creat employment oppunities for their youths.
Retirement age should be reduced to 50yrs to enable the upcoming youths to gain employed.
What we have in Nigeria is a TIME bomb that is waiting to explode any day,our goverment should do something about it.
May the soul of those who died in these struggle rest in peace.

eric francis   January 12th, 2011 12:58 pm ET

I love this coverage, protests crackdown in Iran are indignantly reprimanded by Western leaders and media, but if it happens in an ally country, its called a "violent protest"

NICMAN@ATL   January 14th, 2011 7:54 pm ET


Recent diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia obtained by WikiLeaks reveal growing disquiet with the government - and especially nepotism within the government.
WikiLeaks published a 2009 cable recounting a lavish dinner for the U.S. ambassador given by Ben Ali's son-in-law, Mohamed Sakher El Materi, a prominent businessman.
The ambassador wrote in the cable: "After dinner, he served ice cream and frozen yogurt he brought in by plane from Saint Tropez (a high-end French resort), along with blueberries and raspberries and fresh fruit and chocolate cake."
The wave of demonstrations in Tunisia - in which people protested high unemployment, alleged corruption, rising prices and limitations on rights - was sparked by the suicide of an unemployed college graduate, a man who torched himself in December after police confiscated his fruit cart, cutting off his source of income.

NICMAN@ATL   January 14th, 2011 8:00 pm ET


We are calling for calm," one official said. "Obviously the people have expressed concerns, and it is the responsibility of the government to work toward responding to the concerns of its people.
"Clearly there are divisions within society that need to be healed. ... We call on parties to come together for political dialogue."
The United States, France, and Britain have issued travel advisories, strongly warning against nonessential visits, and a tourism company announced the evacuation of 2,000 German vacationers.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the organization is closely monitoring the situation in Tunisia and has called for restraint, respect for freedom of expression and dialogue to resolve problems peacefully.

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