Jordan: Tunisian Protests May Trigger More Agony for Arab Governments

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011.

At least 23 people have died in unrest in Tunisia, with violent protests occurring daily and police employing tear gas and live ammunition to control the demonstrators who are reacting against high unemployment, corruption, increased fuel and food prices and lack of political freedoms. As the violence continues, so too have responses and expressions of support in Jordan.

Many Jordanian tweeters have focused on criticism of Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Hamzeh Lattouf wrote:

Why did the Tunisian President wait until #sidibouzid protests started to promise a 300k work chances?! #FAIL

In a televised address on January 10, Ben Ali promised Tunisians that 300,000 new jobs will be created over the next two years in the country where an estimated 55 per cent of the population is under the age of 25, and where the current unemployment rate stands at around 15%.

Samih Toukan expressed hope for a change of leadership with the protests:

Desperate moves from Ben Ali.not enough.he should be out and put on trial! #sidibouzid

Samar Dahmash Jarrah asked humorously:

#sidibouzid #Tunisian عزيزي الريس بن علي، بما انك مفصوم تماما عن شعبك وبلدك، ما رايك باجازة لطيفة طويلة في فلوريدا علي حسابي؟

My dear President Bin Ali, are you completely fractured from your people and your country? What do you think about a nice long vacation in Florida on my account?

Others expressed solidarity with the Tunisian people, such as Mohammad Yousef's tweet:

long live Tunisia #Kreator #Nowplaying cc: @Cer @3arabawy @maggieosama @Gsquare86 @miqla3

Norma Saqer urged religious solidarity:

Cant physically do anything 4 the suffering like #Tunisia #Palestine #Iraq #arab ? actually-u can, pray for them, #God will hear you :) #JO

Others tweeted about a vigil to be held on January 13th, 2011, in front of Tunisia's embassy in Jordan, entitled “Pause of silence for Tunisia in Jordan !”

Many Jordanians related Tunisian events to tensions in other Arab countries. Sheeshany asked:

How far are we “#jo” from #Tunisia & #Algeria?

Naseem Tarawnah tweeted:

i wonder if arab govts will send “support” to help keep tunisian govt from collapsing & a domino effect occurring? #JO #tunisia #sidibouzid

Mohammad Yousef tweeted about the events in Lebanon, writing that Hezbollah's withdrawal from the Lebanese government also placed Lebanon on Tunisia's path to populist demonstrations:

#Lebanon join the track: Opposition to withdraw its ministers from the gov. today #Algeria #Sidibouzid #Jordan #Tunisia

These tweets, and many others, speculate that rioting in Tunisia and Algeria are related to Jordan's tensions, and that these demonstrations will inspire the people of Arab countries to demand economic and political reform.

Follow the #sidibouzid hashtag conversation on Twitter for the latest news and reactions to events in Tunisia and our special coverage page here.


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