The Sidi Bouzid revolution: Ben Ali flees as protests spread in Tunisia

The Sidi Bouzid revolution: Ben Ali flees as protests spread in Tunisia

Friday 14 January 2011 -- After a dramatic 24 hours when Tunisia's dictator president Ben Ali first tried promising liberalisation and an end to police shootings of demonstrators and then, this evening at 16:00, declaring martial law, he has finally fallen from office. While the rumours are still swirling, one thing is clear, Ben Ali has left Tunisia and the army has stepped in. The comments after this article contain continuous updates of the uprising.

The day began with a mass demonstration called by Tunisia's trade union federation, the UGTT, in the capital Tunis. Between 10 and 15,000 people demonstrated outside the Ministry of the Interior. The initially peaceful scene broke down at around 14:30 local time as police moved in with tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd, some of whom had managed to scale the Ministry building and get on its roof. From then on, the city centre descended into chaos with running battles between the riot police and Tunisians of all ages and backgrounds fighting for the overthrow of the hated despot.

Finally, armoured cars from the army appeared on the street and a state of emergency and curfew was declared with Ben Ali threatening the populace that the security forces had carte blanche to open fire on any gatherings of more than three people. Soon, however, he disappeared from view and the rumours began to circulate. The army seized control of the airport and there were reports of convoys of limousines racing to the airport from the Ben Ali families palace. Finally the official announcement came. Ben Ali is gone. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi appeared on state TV to announce that he was in charge of a caretaker government backed by the army.

Tonight the long-suffering people of Tunisia may rejoice that their last four weeks of heroic resistance has finally seen off the dictator who ran the most vicious police state in North Africa over them for the last 23 years.

But tomorrow morning will find the army in charge. What will happen tomorrow and the days to follow is anybody's guess. But the people now know that they have the power to overthrow a long-entrenched dictatorship, how much easier to take on a new unstable regime.

Report by Workers Solidarity Movement

Posted By

Mark.
Jan 12 2011 00:41

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Mark.
Jan 15 2011 10:07

Monday 28 December 2010 -- The BBC reports that, 'hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Tunis on Monday to demand jobs and an end to corruption. On Friday, one protester was shot dead during violent clashes in the central town of Menzel Bouzaiene.'

Al Jazeera report

Report (in Spanish and French) from CGT North Africa claiming there was a second death

Video from Euronews

(Edited for layout)

Khawaga
Dec 29 2010 02:41
Samotnaf
Dec 29 2010 09:29
Mark.
Jan 1 2011 14:25

There are now calls on twitter for a general strike on Monday.

Mark.
Jan 2 2011 13:07

Attempts to stop internet access

Quote:
A game of cat and mouse and an actual “cyberwar” is taking place for two weeks now between Tunisian netizens and “Ammar”, the nickname of the very elaborated censorship system deviced by the Tunisian minister of interior. Blogger Astrubal explains its secret techniques.


Tunisian bloggers have long been using circumventing softwares, getting news on facebook and share censored posts, videos, photos or news updates ( like the beating of a journalist) on the main Tunisian blogging platforms and information gateways hosted overseas or via twitter and key words like #sidibouzid.



Still, “Ammar” also seem to want to be rid off social media network: ...



Tunisian netizens- the most connected community on facebook in North Africa- could not upload any photos or videos on facebook on the afternoon of december 30. ...



Demonstrations of support to the #sidibouzid movement took place in Paris, Munich, and Beyrouth. The “media black out” by the main international media outlets and western diplomacy, in addition to the domestic censorship, was a frequent subject of bitterness amongst many Tunisian activists. ...



No internet in Tunis but the media says that the situation is stable yet the protests continue in all regions ...

A new twist to Tunisian protests

Quote:
There are calls for a general strike in Tunisia tomorrow (Monday), according to various posts on Twitter. Meanwhile, more and more videos are appearing on the nawaat blog showing protests around the country.

I was particularly fascinated by one video showing a small but imaginative protest at an unlikely spot: Bab el-Assal metro station in the suburbs of Tunis last Tuesday. 

People can be seen on the platforms and railway lines, silently holding a hand over their mouth. A train approaches ringing its bell, but the demonstrators stand their ground and the train comes almost to a halt before they finally step aside…

Protests spread to Egypt

Quote:
Egyptian activists have declared solidarity with Tunisian rioters. They are set to demonstrate in downtown Cairo on Sunday, in a protest that may unite causes, condemning Saturday's church bombing too...

The Tunisian youths’ violent revolt, and their evident breaking point at the hand of a dictatorship that led them to take risks with their lives, has ruffled the feathers of neighbouring governments who fear similar prospects at home. It has also stirred the interest and intrigue of equally disenfranchised Egyptian youth, whose discontent has led to small-scale protests and stone-throwing, but never outright revolt...

The demonstration on Sunday, which will be held in downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square [...] is being fervently promoted by a variety of youth activist groups. Among them, the 6th April Movement, whose 6th April demonstration in Cairo last year ended in police brutality, is especially active.

In a series of declarations released by the group via email, Facebook, and blogs, they expressed empathy with the situation faced by Tunisian youth. Citing it as a regional affliction, they have offered to commit all their resources to helping further publicize the situation and bring media attention to the strife, which activists say governments have tried to downplay and hush...

Ed
Jan 2 2011 13:18

Fuck me, hadn't been able to give it a proper look coz of holidays but this is all really interesting stuff.. cheers..

Mark.
Jan 2 2011 14:00

'Passive' Tunisians shock region with unexpected protests

Quote:
CAIRO Dec 31, 2010 - - As the Western countries were busy celebrating Christmas and dealing with air traffic holiday delays because of snow blizzards, the tranquil North African country of Tunisia was going through events that would have been thought unimaginable just three weeks ago – a public unrest that saw thousands demonstrate against the oppressive regime of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.
 
While the media and policy makers went heads over heals in the United States and Europe during similar protests against the disputed presidential elections in Iran in 2009, the unexpected events went largely ignored in the Western media. Tunisian bloggers and twitter posts are now the main source for minute-by-minute developments of the unrest.
 
Arabs across the Middle East watched in awe as a stream of online video posts and sporadic coverage from Al-Jazeera TV station showed Tunisians, with a reputation of passivity, rising up in unprecedented street protests and sits-in against the police state of President 
Ben Ali and his regime.
 
The Ben Ali regime exemplifies the so-called “moderate” pro-Western Arab regimes that boast strict control of their populations while toeing the line of Western powers in the Middle East.
 
The spark of the unrest, now about to end its second week, came when a 26-year old unemployed university graduate, Mohammed Buazizi, set himself ablaze in the central town of Sidi Buzeid to protest the confiscation of his fruits and vegetables cart. Buazizi resorted to street hawking to provide for his family in the absence of alternative jobs.
 
Buaziz’s suicide attempt has been copied by at least two other young university graduates in protest of poor economic conditions in the Arab country.
 
Similar to previous unrests in many Western-backed Arab countries, the police responded with overwhelming force. There were reports of use of live ammunition, house-to-house raids to hunt down activists, mass arrests and torture of prisoners.
 
The police initially crushed the demonstrations in Sidi Buzeid after cutting all communications and roads to the town, only to be faced with more protests in neighboring towns.
 
Besieging entire towns is a common tactic for Arab regimes often aided by lack of coverage in the Western media. Egypt had followed the same methods against unrest by factory workers in industrial city of Al-Mahala El Kobra on April 16, 2007 and ended the unrest in just four days after the regime managed to control media reports from inside the town. At the time, Western media outlets either ignored the events or
belittled them as ineffectual.
 
But unlike the unrest in Egypt, there are reports of demonstrations and clashes spreading in Tunisia to the towns of Gandouba, Qabes, Genyana among others and more sits-in today.
 
The Ben Ali regime blamed “radical elements”, “chaos mongers” and “a minority of mercenaries” for incitement, all typical accusations by Arab rulers in face of signs of fidgeting among their
oppressed publics.

So far, according to press reports and Web posts, at least two protesters have died and many were injured in the protests.
 
On Thursday, human rights activist and blogger Lina Ben Mhenni reported a third death (http://twitter.com/benmhennilina). The report has not been independently verified.
 
The Tunisian Journalists’ Syndicate issued a statement last week decrying official attempts “to hinder media coverage and stop reporters from doing their job”.
 
The communications minister has banned the showing of Al-Jazeera channel in Tunisian coffee shops or any public viewing, according to another Web post by an unidentified Tunisian man.
 
A blogger wrote: “They are clamping down on the Internet too blocking some sites and Facebook accounts. I might not be able to post any longer. If I disappear suddenly, please pray for me”.
 
Comments from across the Arab countries followed in support.
 
“Thank Allah the peoples of the region are finally waking up and are protesting against the tyrants who spread injustice and corruption all over the face of the earth,” a post from Dubai said.
 
“The end of the Arab regimes looks so near,” another post from Egypt said.
 
Blogger Sami Ben Gharbia wrote: “Sidi Bouzid discredited The West. U want regime change in Iran and not in #Tunisa? Well, we will democratize to #tunisia 1st, by ourselves!”
 
Other Arabs are seeing the demonstrations as an inspiration.
 
In chat forums and social media, Arabs were applauding the protesters often calling them “heroes”.
 
The Egyptian opposition leader Hamadeen Sabahi called for a demonstration on Sunday in solidarity with the “Tunisian intifada”. The Campaign to Support [former head of the International
 Atomic Energy Agency and opposition leader in Egypt] Mohammed El-Baradei called
 on the Ben Ali Regime to respect the wishes of the Tunisian people.
 
The fear of similar spillover into Arab countries pushed at least one Arab ruler to rush to aid Ben Ali. Libya’s maverick leader Muammar Qaddafi said he was immediately dropping all restrictions on the entry of Tunisian labor into Libya.  Tunisians were free to travel for work to his oil-rich country, he said on Wednesday.
 
Opposition in Tunisia says the unrest has been prompted against high prices, unemployment but now has turned political with some demonstrators calling on President Ben Ali to step down.
 
Tunisia, like the non-oil producing, Arab countries, has implemented a Western-inspired privatization program and gradual cut to state subsidies to staple goods without offering alternative sources of income.
 
Yet as the Tunisians waited impatiently, the fruits of the alleged economic reforms never came. Pictures and video on social media showed protesters holding “bread loaves” a sign of hunger and poverty. 
 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts official unemployment for 2010 at 13.5 but the real figure is thought to be much higher.

Tunisia’s protests caught the region by surprise as the Ben Ali regime, like other rulers, had often trumpeted his country as an oasis of stability and said that he was firmly in control.
 
Trying to absorb the shock, Ben Ali announced a small cabinet reshuffle but left the interior ministry intact. He vowed a clampdown on the protesters.
 
But even if the regime manages to eventually contain the events, the incidents show how suddenly unrest can break out in the Middle East and regimes could be easily shaken by their “passive” people.

Mark.
Jan 2 2011 22:41

Tunisian government's web site is now down

Quote:
The faction of Anonymous that launched the anti-Scientology movement Chanology and has more recently been supporting Wikileaks through various information and direct action campaigns has launched an attack on the Tunisian government's web capabilities in retaliation for the censorship policies it has recently put in place. Their main site is down and will remain so for the near future; other actions are imminent. I have been given the following press release from the faction in question and have posted it below the fold; further updates will be added as they occur.

.

Anonymous wrote:
PRESS RELEASE:

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all  records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became  truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the  future: who controls the present controls the past.'" - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

A time for truth has come. A time for people to express themselves freely and to be heard from anywhere in the world. The Tunisian governement wants to control the present with falsehoods and misinformation in order to impose the future by keeping the truth hidden from its citizens. We will not remain silent while this happens. Anonymous has heard the claim for freedom from the Tunisian people. Anonymous is willing to help the tunisian people in this fight against opression.

This is a warning to the Tunisian Government: violation of the freedom of speech and information of its citizens will not be tolerated. Attacks will continue until the Tunisian Government respects all Tunisian citizens right to Free Speech and Information and ceases the censoring of the internet.

It's in the hands of the Tunisian governement to stop this situation. Free the net and attacks will cease. Continue your oppression and this will just be the begining.

We do not forgive.


We do not forget.


Expect us.

Edit: report here

Mark.
Jan 3 2011 01:04

Reports on twitter that Mohamed Bouazizi, the unemployed Tunisian whose attempted suicide sparked the uprising, has now died in hospital. [Edit: report in French]

.

Cairo protest on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Uhzmhdqks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLYny5d7xzc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7bammTd-Z0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3f85m12N_0

It seems that this is still going on along with other protests in Cairo against yesterday's bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria.

Mark.
Jan 3 2011 12:42

Screenshot from the government website

Tunisia’s protest wave: where it comes from and what it means

The Tunisian paradigm shift: why Tunisians are changing the rules of the game

The Tunisian Intifada...

It's hard to make out what's happening in Tunisia today. Some reports on twitter of protests by school students, the government hacking people's facebook and email accounts, Tunisian stock exchange down.

Updates on twitter

Mark.
Jan 3 2011 21:42

Reports on twitter of clashes with police in the Tunisian towns of Kasserin, Tela, Sfax, Om Laarais. Video of protest by school students here. Denial of reports of death of Mohamed Bouazizi here. It isn't clear whether strikes took place or not.

Al Jazeera - Hackers hit Tunisian websites

Quote:
Online activists have attacked and at least momentarily disabled several Tunisian government websites in the latest act of protest against the country's embattled leadership.

As of Monday afternoon, local time, at least eight websites had been affected, including those for the president, prime minister, ministry of industry, ministry of foreign affairs, and the stock exchange.

The attack, which began on Sunday night, coincided with a national strike, planned to take place on Monday, that organisers said would be the biggest popular event of its size since Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed the presidency.

The strike comes on the day that school students return from their holiday.

Ben Ali's administration has tightly restricted the flow of information out of Tunisia since widespread protests began on December 17, following 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi's suicide attempt. But reports of civil disobedience and police action filtered out on Twitter on Monday, with some users reporting the use of tear gas by security forces...

Mark.
Jan 4 2011 13:09

Al Jazeera - Violent clashes continue in Tunisia

Quote:
Clashes over unemployment and the high cost of living spread across Tunisia, with the latest rallies between demonstrators and police turning violent in the city of Thala, 250km from the capital, witnesses have said.

About 250 demonstrators, mostly students, attended a peaceful march on Monday afternoon to express their support for the protests in the region of Sidi Bouzid, a union source told AFP.

The march then turned violent when police tried to contain the protesters by firing tear gas canisters, one of which fell into a mosque.

Enraged, the protesters then reportedly set fire to tyres and attacked the local offices of the ruling party, the source said.

Lina Ben Mhenni, a Tunisian blogger and university assistant, told Al Jazeera that people in the capital Tunis were talking about some protesters being seriously injured, but there was no way of confirming this as there was an information crackdown.

"The government has cracked down on activists by hacking our emails, facebook and blogs. They have deleted a few pages in which I was writing about the public protests," Ben Mhenni said.

"All the demonstrations that were supposed to be organised yesterday by the students in Tunis did not happen - the police surrounded all the high schools and all the universities in the city."

She added that she had heard about some protests in high schools, but could not confirm any details. Students in the town of Sidi Bouzid held a protest that went ahead without any problems, AFP news agency reported.

"There are also videos online that recorded student protests in the city of Grombalia, some 30km away from Tunis," she said.

These events all coincided on Monday with the opening of high schools after the holiday break.

Following a demonstration by lawyers last week that also turned violent, lawyers once again protested on Monday at the main courthouse in Tunis.

"The lawyers protested for Sidi Bouzid again, but also because of the violence that they experienced at the demonstration last week," Ben Mhenni said.

On Tuesday, the Tunisian Bar Association announced a general strike to be staged next Thursday in protest over the attacks by security forces against a number of its members.

There's more on the protests by lawyers and calls for a strike and international day of action on Thursday in a report in Spanish from CGT North Africa.

Mark.
Jan 4 2011 13:14

Students protest in Tunisia, in spite of government attempts to block cyberspace

Quote:
In spite of a total blackout from the side of the official Tunisian sources, bits and pieces of manifestations in Tunisia on Monday have been leaking out. AFP confirmed that clashes have taken place in Thala (250 kilometer centre West of Tunis, between 'lycéens' (high school students) and the police. The students started a peaceful demonstration, which turned violent after the police tried to stop it. After the police started to shoot teargas into the demonstration, the students set fire to tires and later on to the local headquarters of the ruling party Rassemblement Constitunionel Démocratique (RCD).

At the other hand in Sidi Bouzid, the city where the Tunisian intifada started some 19 days ago, lycéens were able to hold a peaceful demonstration without interference. These demonstrations were by far not the only ones that took place on this day on which the winter vacations ended and the students returned to school. In the capital Tunis a sit in was held (see picture above) in the Prep Institute for Civil engineering (Institut de préparation aux études á l'ingénieurs). The students formed a slogan with their bodies. In Sidi Bouzid was a sit in held by the students of the Institut de Presse et des études d'Information.

More details are not known, and that is due to the fact that the main war that is being fought in Tunisia at the moment is a cyber war of blocking the communications through the internet...

Mark.
Jan 4 2011 13:20

Cyber war breaks out in Tunisia

Quote:
As the Tunisian uprising continues on the ground with no sign of abating, the battle over information is intensifying on the internet.

Yesterday there were numerous reports of Tunisians' Facebook pages and email accounts being hacked – presumably by the regime – with Yahoo users apparently the most vulnerable.

The nawaat website responded with technical guidance for protecting against attacks. The Tunisian Pirate Party was also reported to be distributing USB sticks containing Tor (anonymity software) to students.

The Tunisian government is regarded as a world leader in the field of internet censorship and it could easily block access to the whole of Facebook if it chose to do so. However, it seems to have recognised that this would be extremely unpopular and could further inflame the protests – so it has opted for targeting individuals who oppose the regime.

The authorities also routinely block access to anything remotely critical which appears on websites outside the country. According to a Twitter user, this article was blocked within 10 minutes of appearing on a Swiss website.

Parallel with the government's assault on internet users, the group known as Anonymous has been attacking government-related websites

[...]

Twitter users reported demonstrations in several Tunsian cities yesterday, though details are scarce. The nawaat website posted videos of two student protests, one at the Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l'Information and the other at Gronbalya Lycée. It also reports a hunger strike by trade unionists in Redeyef.

Lawyers have reportedly called a strike for Thursday, January 6.

The Egyptian foreign minister arrived in Tunisia yesterday for two days of discussions on "key issues of mutual interest". The Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, also began an official visit.

Mark.
Jan 4 2011 14:42

The lack of media coverage of the uprising actually seems quite strange, the main exceptions being reports from Al Jazeera and some coverage in France. The only coverage I can find from Britain today is a Guardian comment is free piece from a Tunisian islamist which includes the following:

Quote:
Ben Ali may have brought the stability desired by his foreign backers, but it was the stability of the dead, of graves and cemeteries.

Amid the wreckage of political life, Tunisia's general grapples with two phenomena of his own making. The first is the rise of violent anarchist groups associated with al-Qaida, which have emerged in the vacuum generated by his eradication policy. The second is rage at corruption, unemployment and government repression, which has erupted in the past few weeks.

The writer is the daughter of the leader of An Nahdha, a group that has been accused of involvement in terrorism, I don't know with what accuracy but see the comments under the Guardian article for more on this.

According to an article in the LA Times:

Quote:
Whatever appeal An Nahdha might have had to mainstream Tunisians was lost in February, 1991, when, during the tensions over the Persian Gulf War, its supporters bound and burned two guards in a firebomb attack on a branch office of Tunisia's dominant political party.

Tunisians, thinking themselves immune from such violence, were aghast. The government tried the fire bombers and their supporters in a military court--one of the guards had died in the attack--and sentenced 265 of the Islamists to prison terms ranging from one year to life. The leader of An Nahdha, Rachid Ghannouchi, has since fled into exile in London.

Mark.
Jan 4 2011 17:31

Students reignite Tunisian protest after brief lull

Quote:
TUNIS Jan 4 (Reuters) – Tunisian police used tear gas to disperse a protest by hundreds of students on Tuesday in a town in the west of the country, witnesses said, as violent protests resumed after a brief lull.

“Hundreds of students took to the street this morning in solidarity with the youths of Sidi Bouzid. Jobless soon joined the protests which turned into clashes with the police who used tear gas to disperse the protesters,” eyewitness Belgacem Saihi said from the town of Thala where the protest took place.

Tunisian officials could not immediately comment on the accounts by Saihi, confirmed by Jamal Boulabi, who heads teachers union in Thala.

[...]

Teachers union's Boulabi said students from the town's four colleges took part in the protest.

"They (police) are now surrounding teachers and students inside our college, refusing to let anyone leave the college ... There are some cases of asphyxiation among teachers and students because of the tear gas," Boulabi added...

On twitter: 'Reports of 2 dead in Tala'. No other confirmation of this as yet.

.

BBC - Anonymous activists target Tunisian government sites

Mark.
Jan 5 2011 12:18

Al Jazeera report on the cyber war - in Arabic but translated transcript here

bootsy
Jan 5 2011 02:38

Thanks for all these updates!

Mark.
Jan 5 2011 21:49

Confirmed report that Mohammed Bouazizi has died

Tunisia: the battle for free speech

Tunisia: the middle east's first cyberwar

Internet censors move into top gear in response to widespread unrest

Tunisian government harvesting usernames and passwords

Tunisia invades, censors Facebook, other accounts

.

This thread now comes up second on a google search for 'tunisia protests'. Unfortunately I think that's mainly a sign of the lack of media coverage of the uprising. And with the clampdown on the internet there seems to be very little new information coming out of the country.

.

Photo just posted up on facebook, claimed to be from strike at lycée Med in Sfax

Mark.
Jan 5 2011 21:53

Funeral of Mohamed Bouazizi today - reports from bbc and al jazeera - video here - reports of copycat suicide attempts - reports of clashes between students and police in Sousse today - video from school students strike in Sfax here.

the bbc wrote:
Mr Bouazizi died on Tuesday afternoon in a hospital outside the capital, Tunis.

A crowd estimated at around 5,000 took part on Wednesday in his funeral procession to a cemetery near Sidi Bouzid, union official Kamel Laabidi said.

He told AFP news agency that the marchers chanted: "Farewell, Mohammed, we will avenge you. We weep for you today, we will make those who caused your death weep."

A massive police presence prevented the crowd from reaching the governor's office, outside which Mr Bouazizi had set himself alight, his uncle, Mehdi Horchani, told AFP.

al jazeera wrote:
Recently, lawyers and students have continued to lead demonstrations against the government throughout the country.

About 250 people who marched in the town of Thala on Monday were met by police, firing tear gas to contain them.

The crowd responded by setting fire to tyres and attacking offices of the ruling party.

Police stormed an organised at the Human and Social Sciences Department of the University 9 avril in Tunis, using batons and teargas against the students who had gathered on Wednesday, Ben Mhenni said.

Information from Tunisia has been scarce as the government has moved to censor Internet access.

Activists and those writing about the protests have found their email, Facebook and blog accounts hacked, Ben Mhenni told Al Jazeera.

The Tunisian Bar Association has scheduled a general strike for Thursday.

Activists had tried to organise a national strike on Monday, coinciding with the day that students were set to return to school from their holidays, but it was hard to verify whether the strike had occurred.

.

Callout for general strike and international day of solidarity tomorrow (Thursday) with demo outside Tunisian embassy in London 5.30pm - 7.00pm. Reports on twitter that London demo will be televised by al jazeera.

Mark.
Jan 5 2011 23:33

Recently on twitter - Protesters marching in the streets near Tunis - The police forces used rubber bullets and tear gas against protested students in Sousse - Polices forces used Armored vehicle in Thala - The polices forces are robbing markets and destroying personal properties in Thala - The situation in Thala: the police forces started breaking in Civilians’ houses and arresting them randomly - Demo in Algiers, police already trying to break it - Algerian people take it to the streets tonight...angry riots covering over 10 cities across the country...

.

Algeria tonight...

.

Egyptian activists charged over Cairo demo

al jazeera wrote:
Egyptian authorities have charged eight people with assaulting police and disturbing public safety following protests over the bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve.

The eight activists, who are all Muslim and members of the April 6 movement which campaigns for reform of the country's political system, are due to go on trial on Thursday.

The activists had joined with Coptic protesters to show their solidarity against attacks on the Christian community.

Although it doesn't say so here this demo was initially organised in solidarity with the protests in Tunisia.

.

What's happening in Tunisia?

Report on today's riots in Algeria (in French)

chebba
Jan 6 2011 01:37

thanks for the posts, Mark.

Khawaga
Jan 6 2011 04:47
Mark. wrote:
Although it doesn't say so here this demo was initially organised in solidarity with the protests in Tunisia.

Really? I am pretty sure that they're all about the bombing in Alexandria; at least according to my contacts in Egypt.

Mark.
Jan 6 2011 11:06

Khawaga - I'm going off the ahramonline article I quoted above. I've also seen something else on this but I'm not sure I could find it again. This was only one small demo in Cairo though. As far as I know all the rest have just been about the bombing.

Quote:
Egyptian activists have declared solidarity with Tunisian rioters. They are set to demonstrate in downtown Cairo on Sunday, in a protest that may unite causes, condemning Saturday's church bombing too.

[…]

The unity with youth rioters in Tunisia mounted online, with bloggers and activists taking to Facebook and twitter to declare solidarity and support. In a search of tweets that are tagged #sidibouzid and #egypt, hundreds of entries come up. The Tunisian struggle is the Egyptian one, activists here are saying. It is also an Arab one.

[…]

The demonstration on Sunday, which will be held in downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square – named after the leading Egyptian economist and nationalist who established Banque Misr in 1907 – is being fervently promoted by a variety of youth activist groups. Among them, the 6th April Movement, whose 6th April demonstration in Cairo last year ended in police brutality, is especially active.

In a series of declarations released by the group via email, Facebook, and blogs, they expressed empathy with the situation faced by Tunisian youth. Citing it as a regional affliction, they have offered to commit all their resources to helping further publicize the situation and bring media attention to the strife, which activists say government’s have tried to downplay and hush.

Edit: Found it...

Quote:
CAIRO: Police cracked down on protesters in Talaat Harb and Ramses Squares on Sunday as they organized to denounce the recent New Year’s Eve attack on Church (The Church of the Two Saints) in Alexandria.

Around 50 Muslims and Copts were violently shoved by security forces, preventing them from gathering at Talaat Harb Square. Some protesters stated they were beaten and insulted by security forces and plain-clothed police officers.

Phones and cameras were confiscated from protesters and reporters who attempted to get footage of the violence.

One protester had her phone flung out of her hand and stomped on by a plain-clothed policeman, described as a “government thug” by protesters.

[...]

The protesters also chanted slogans in support of the people of Tunisia and their struggles against the government.

“[Initially], we had arranged this demonstration in solidarity with the people of Tunisia,” Seif El-Dawla said. “But after the massacre that took place on News Year’s Eve, we decided to support the Copts as well and [to] call for the resignation of Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly.”

“We want to tell the Tunisian people that, as Tunisia suffers from poverty, unemployment and corruption, Egyptian people also suffer from the same problems,” Spokesperson for Free Front for Peaceful Change Essam El-Sherif told Daily News Egypt.

Mark.
Jan 6 2011 11:14

Algerians follow example of Tunisia: street protests in Algiers and other parts of the country

Quote:
Algeria’s angry youth violently clashed late on Wednesday with security forces in a number of cities over the rise of food prices, unemployment, and a perceived deterioration of basic government services.

Al Arabiyya tv and Al-Jazeera have both footage of  young rioters in the capital city Algiers hurling stones at security forces who responded firing tear gas and rubber bullets.  Eyewitnesses told Al Arabiya that rioters stormed the police headquarters near the building of the directorate general for national security in the neighborhood of Bab el-Oued in the capital. AlJazeera reported protests at the Martyrs' Square, Balkor, Bash Jarrah, Babal Wadi and Astawali.

In Oran, a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria and the second largest city of the country, hundreds of young people took the streets and closed a number of streets, according to Al-Arabiyya. . Some of them threw animal bones in the streets and on government buildings. A young protester said bones were hurled as a message to the government "because it left nothing for us except bones."

The correspondent of Al-Jazeera reported that both in Jalfa in southern Algeria and Wahran in the west, also  violent rallies took place in protest over the deteriorating living conditions and rising prices.

Demonstrators posted videos on the internet of large fires burning in the street, police firing tear gas, and protesters throwing rocks.

The riots in the capital reportedly broke out in solidarity with the alleged suppression of protests in the cities of Zeralda and Esharaqa by paramilitary forces, syays Al-Arabittyya. In Tibaza province, 70 kilometers west of the capital, 32 people were arrested following violent riots in residential areas and in the province’s major urban center.

Government-owned TV channels ignored the protests. They instead reported on the progress of government housing and infrastructure projects across the country.

Prices of some food products, like cooking oil and sugar, have increased by 150 percent during the rule of the ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Mark.
Jan 6 2011 11:27

Recently on twitter - Faculté fermé à Sousse, Sfax,Kaserine,sidibouzid,manif à Grombalia,Bizerte Béja,affrontement à Menzal bouziane - New protests in Bouhajla and Nasr’Allah in Kairouan Governorate - New clash in Jebeniana, and the institute of “18 January 1952” is Besieged by the police forces - A sit-in in Oum El Araies agenized by unemployment students and locally citizens on the Railway ores - Clash with police in Thala - New protests in Sousse and Sfax - The rap singer “El general” and a blogger are arrested today - The Tunisian Blogger "hammadi kaloutcha" was arrested today - All the institutes are closed in #sidibouzid and a new suicide threat in front of the government

Mark.
Jan 6 2011 12:02