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Tunisia: Whisperings of Coup Just Rumor

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Tunisia, Breaking News, Human Rights, Politics, Protest, Technology

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011 [1].

Early Wednesday morning, January 12, reports of a coup in Tunisia spread like wildfire on Twitter.  At approximately 5:10am CET, Wessim Amara (@wes_m [2]) was amongst the first to tweet [3]:


"Phone confirmation that the army has surrounded the ministry of interior #coup #tunisia #zaba"

Following the tweets of @wes_m and others, the Twitter stream became filled with news of a rumored coup, and The Next Web became amongst the first to report [5] on the possibility:

According to reports [3] that we’re [6] seeing [7] on Twitter, a military coup against the Ben Ali regime and President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali has erupted in Tunisia. However, it appears that mainstream media attention to the events of the past few weeks in the embattled country have been minimal, with the notable exception of a 26 year old protestor [8] who set fire to himself and later died.

Along with the reports of a potential coup, a video [9] circulated on YouTube showed massive protests in France outside of the Tunisian embassy there:

In the end, however, the reports of a coup were false; Nasser Weddady (@weddady [10]), whose report of a possible coup had quickly become a Top Tweet, apologized, noting [11]:

Ok, I was wrong relying on @SBZ_NEWS [12]on a coup of #tunisia [13]#sidibouzid [14] my mistake. No coup. Stay tuned.

As Emir Chouchane (@miroh_) concluded [15]:

la rumeur d'un coup d'Etat d'aujourd'hui est la réponse de ce que veux vraiment le peuple.#sidibouzid [14]

the rumor of a coup today is the answer to what people really want.

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011 [1].