December 30, 2010
Demonstrators demanding jobs clashed with security forces as protests spread across Tunisia. A social eruption on such a scale is virtually unprecedented in this highly repressive and tightly controlled North African country.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Eighteen-year-old Mohammed Amari was shot dead when police opened fire on demonstrators in Sidi Bou Zid, a town some 200 kilometres east of the capital, Tunis. The protests began there on December 17 when police confiscated the merchandise of 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi, accusing him of trading illegally without a permit. He set fire to himself in protest at his treatment.
Bouazizi survived his ordeal and was taken to a burns unit in Tunis. But another young man has since committed suicide by touching a high-voltage cable. Before he died he shouted, “No to misery! No to unemployment!”
The desperation of these young men reflects the high level of unemployment in Tunisia. Officially, joblessness is 14 percent, but the real level is much higher.