Tunisia. In connection with the fifth anniversary of the
popular revolt that overthrew President Ben Ali in January
2011, unrest erupted in the city of al-Qasrayn. These later
spread to the capital Tunis and the government imposed
curfews in the evenings and nights.
countryaah, the current population of Tunisia is 11,818,630.
One important reason for the protests was the high
unemployment rate in the country. In January, Prime Minister Habib Essid carried out a government reform, which included,
among other things, the Foreign Minister and the Minister of
the Interior. In the same month, 22 members of the party
Nida Tounes (Call for Tunisia) broke up and formed al-Horra
(the free bloc). As a result, Nida Tounes lost the position
of Parliament's largest party to Ennahda. In March, another
party - Machrouu Tounes - was formed by a defender from Nida
After several weeks of demands for his departure, Essid
himself requested a vote of confidence in his government in
Parliament. An overwhelming majority voted against Essid and
in early August President Beji Caid Essebsi appointed the
Minister of Local Affairs, Youssef Chahed, as new head of
government with the task of forming a unifying government.
In February, the government announced that a 20-mile
barrier along the Libyan border was complete. The barrier
will make it more difficult for terrorists to enter Tunisia.
In March, however, a group of suspected Islamists managed to
cross the border and attack an army base and a police
station in the city of Ben Guerdane. Some 50 of the
perpetrators were killed, the security forces lost 13 men
and seven civilians lost their lives. In June, it was
reported that Seifeddine Jameli, a member of the Tunisian
IS-affiliated organization Jund al-Khilafa (Caliphate's
soldiers) and regarded as one of the country's most
dangerous terrorists, was killed.
In October, the state of emergency was originally
extended in 2011 once again. With reference to terrorist
threats, the state of emergency shall apply until January
The rebellion in Tunisia 2010–2011
The rebellion in Tunisia 2010–2011 was a popular,
non-violent rebellion aimed at the sitting regime in
Tunisia, which started in December 2010. It is also known as
the Jasmine Revolution, after Tunisia's national
It was this uprising that began December 17, 2010, in the
Arab Spring. It was aimed at the board of President Zine el-Abidine
Ben Ali with demands for democratic reform. The protesters
also demanded that the president have to step down, and he
did so on January 14, 2011.
The action of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi was the
spark that ignited the rebellion in Tunisia - and the Arab
Spring. But the causes of the revolt were profound;
political, economic and social.
The insurgency targeted President Ben Ali, his family and
the sitting regime. The demands were essentially about the
president and regime having to step down and a
democratization take place. The family of the president -
and, above all, his wife Leila Trabelsi - was a special
shooting record, having acquired great wealth through
corruption and nepotism, made possible through the
liberalization of the economy, with the privatization of
former state business and the granting of business licenses.
This happened at a time when Tunisia was experiencing
significant economic growth, while social disparities were
increasing. A particularly important cause of social and
political discontent was the high unemployment rate,
especially among young people, where over a third were
unemployed. The discontent also had a root in the conditions
in the housing market and in the health care system, as well
as high food prices; an ineffective bureaucracy was also
Although Tunisia was highlighted as one of the most
secular and liberal countries in the Arab world, it was not
full political freedom. Political opposition was suppressed
and Islamist parties banned. Previous riots had been beaten
and participants imprisoned.
The Tunisian uprising was spontaneous, at the same time
building on previous actions against the regime, including
several strikes and a built-up resistance to the regime.
Youth played an important role in mobilizing participation,
not least through the use of social media. Among other
things, bloggers helped to disseminate information about the
events, which led to attempts by the regime to restrict
access to the Internet and to arrest young activists. Also,
the Arab television channel al-Jazeera's ongoing coverage of
the uprising has been given special attention, especially to
make the outside world aware of what happened in Tunisia,
which contributed to the international condemnation of the
regime and its handling of the uprising.
More than in other countries where rebellion broke out
during the Arab Spring, Tunisia had a relatively broad,
well-organized civil society, including with political
parties and trade unions, although there was no full
organizational freedom. The parties were mainly passive to
the rebellion. On the other hand, the trade union movement,
and in particular the national organization Union
générale des travailleurs Tunisiens (UGTT), played a
key role in mobilizing its members across the country,
thereby helping to give the rebellion a national foothold.
This mobilization also linked social and political
demands and strengthened mobilization. Among organized
professional groups, lawyers in particular played a key
role, participating in demonstrations and strikes. Police
also took part in the protests, with complaints of poor pay
and allegations of responsibility for abuse under Ben Ali's
In the legalized opposition, the Tajdid
movement, originating in the former Tunisian Communist
Party, played a key role. So did the Center Radical
Party Democratique Progressists (PDP) and the Social
Democratic Forum Democratique pour le travail et les
libertés (FDTL). The illegal opposition gradually
gained more influence as the revolt spread, including the
Islamist movement An-Nahda, which is ideologically
inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. However, An-Nahda was
weakened as a result of prolonged persecution, and was for a
long time officially invisible. The ruling party RCD became
paralyzed and was unable to gather members for any form of
Tunisia's armed forces were professionally loyal to the
state and not to the president, which also contributed to
the regime's downfall. Army chief Rachid Ammar refused to
execute orders to deploy his forces against the protesters,
expressing his intention to defend the revolution.
In response to the rebels' demands for democratization,
the incumbent president announced in March a new election to
a constitutional assembly, held on October 23, 2011. Its
main task was to draft a new constitution prior to the 2013
presidential and parliamentary elections.
The regime change, confirmed through the election, was
the foremost and clearest outcome of the Shasmin revolution,
thus contributing to a real democratization of Tunisia, with
the previously banned Islamist party An-Nahda becoming the
largest party with 41.5 percent of the vote.
The uprising also contributed to changes in the state
apparatus, where the secret police announced dissolution in
March 2011. The transitional government released political
prisoners, lifted the ban on political parties and removed
the media censorship.