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Tunisia: Celebrations Welcome the End of Ben Ali's Rule

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Tunisia, Breaking News, Digital Activism, Governance, Politics, Protest, Youth

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

The Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali quit his country on Friday following four weeks of popular protests, putting an end to his 23 years in power. The authorities have declared a state of emergency while the Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announced on state television that he was taking over as interim President. This comes after violent clashes opposed protesters and riot police in central Tunis, the capital city. This development comes one day after Ben Ali announced he was to step down at the end of his mandate in 2014. Ben Ali's dramatic departure comes after weeks of protests that started in the central city of Sidi Bouzid before spilling into other regions and cities and finally reaching the capital city of Tunis. Twitter and the blogosphere have been flooded with reactions.


Image courtesy Nawaat.org

Amira Al Hussaini from Bahrain writes on her blog [3]:

My Twitterfeed is going crazy – thanks to the fast paced developments in Tunisia and it doesn't look like things will slow down anytime soon. I am fortifying myself with an assortment of tea and banishing my gang of seven cats to another part of the house to sit back and watch and report on the unfolding historic events in what is now becoming a Twitterised Revolution.

Alaeddine Ghazouani cheers writing [4]:

Les français ont leur 14 juillet. Nous avons désormais notre 14 janvier! #sidibouzid #jasminrevolt #tunisia

The French have their 14 July. We now have our 14 January! # Sidibouzid # Jasminrevolt #tunisia

Amine (@Afrinomad) writes [5]:

Remember the fabled “Arab Street” you read about in polls & press? It has spoken and it just took down a dictator #sidibouzid

This all started four weeks ago in the central town of Sidi Bouzid when Mohamed Bouazizi, a young unemployed 26-year-old university graduate self immolated in an desperate act of protest after the police confiscated his stall of fruits and vegetables.

@JawazSafar (Moh'd Yousef) reminds us tweeting [6]:

عربة خضار تطيح ب23 عام من الدكتاتورية #Sidibouzid

A fruit stall toppled 23 years of dictatorship.

The Arab street is watching. Some have taken to the streets. Thekrah Hazzami (@Thekra_AH) writes [7]:

: #sidibouzid #Tunisia #Egypt الجزيرة : عشرات المواطنين في القاهرة يتظاهرون أمام السفارة التونسية احتفاء برحيل بن علي
Al Jazeera reports that tens of people in Cairo are protesting outside the Tunisian Embassy in Cairo in celebration of Ben Ali's departure.

Justice centric hopes for more Arab leaders to follow in Ben Ali's footsteps. She tweets [8]:

يا بن علي قول لمبارك الطيارة في انتظارك #tunisia http://yfrog.com/h3251lj [9]
Ben Ali, tell Mubarak there's a plane waiting for him too

And the enthusiasm seems to spread across the Arab world. Saudi @Mashi9a7 (Khalid &) tweets [10]:

تصفيق داخل استديو الجزيرة على خبر هروب بن علي #sidibouzid
Applause inside Aljazeera's studio following the announcement of Ben Ali's departure # sidibouzid

@Voiceoftunisia (Voice of Freedom) calls for caution [11]:

Tunisians, too early for congratulations, we did not succeed yet. power is still in the corrupt RCD party. #sidibouzid #tunisia #jasminrevolt

Liliane writing on From Beirut With Funk congratulates the Tunisian people. She writes [12]:

First of all: Mabrouk to Tunisian people! You did something today, you sent away a dictator!
Second of all: Beware!

Yes! Beware, beware beware! January 14, 2011, remind a lot of Lebanese of March 14, 2005! We were very happy that day, we thought we were having a new start and it was a new beginning, and a new country in the horizon! Look at us now!

To commemorate the day, blogger Jawaz Safar quotes an Arab poet Ruba Yassin [13]:

“One day inshallah we will tell our children that we witnessed the end of an oppression, and that no matter how dark things get, with faith and determination they can change their world” ~ Ruba Yassin

Right after they heard the news about Ben Ali's departure, many Tunisians took to the streets to celebrate. Nawaat.org [14], a Tunisian independent blog, posted the following video on its YouTube channel [15]showing the people of Tunis cheering and chanting the national anthem:

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