Today marked the end of a 23 year rule by Tunisian president Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia after police in the country killed at least 23 protesters. “What happened here is going to affect the whole Arab world,” said protester Zied Mhirsi. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced his intention to serve as interim president, and protesters immediately refused to have him.
Fadhel Bel Taher, whose brother was one of dozens of people killed in protests, said: “Tomorrow we will be back on the streets, in Martyrs Square, to continue this civil disobedience until… the regime is gone.
“The street has spoken.”
Protesters had gathered on Twitter under the hashtag #sidibouzid, named for the city where an unemployed college graduate, Mohamed Bouazizi, burned himself to death in frustration and anger at being ordered to buy a license to sell fruit. The Tunisian government attempted to shut down social media gathering by blocking access to Twitter accounts, bloggers and Facebook pages, but were circumvented and attacked by online activists world wide. Al Jazeera is also widely commended by protesters for getting their story told.