Tunisia President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled from country after people protests, plane lands in Jeddah

By on Jan 15, 2011 in Africa, International, Politics, World Comments

Updated: February 28, 2011 12:52 a.m.

Read Tunisia Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi resigns, as protests continue

Tunisia President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was reported to have fled the country after about a month of people protests using the streets and later also the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Tunisia street protests against President Ben Ali
Photo credit: AP

According to international news sites, the 74-year old Tunisian president fled from his country on Friday and the plane carrying him landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia hours later.

Ben Ali, who ruled the country for 23 years, has been criticized by his countrymen for alleged corruption and increasing nationwide employment rate, and series of street protests started as early as December 17.

Reports say that Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has announced in local TV on Friday that the president left the country and he now assumes the leadership.

Earlier, President Ben Ali announced a state of emergency, a dismissal of his administration, and a legislative election within six months, with the country’s unemployment rate of 14 percent.

A certain Mohamed Bouazizi made an attempted suicide by pouring fuel on his body and lit himself on fire in the city of Sidi Bouzid to protest the poor economic conditions, and later died.

Apparently, people got fed up with their president, and started to make peaceful demonstrations, but eventually led to violent protests, until protesters decided to use Facebook, Twitter and even blogs, despite the country’s strict web censorship.

A hacktivist group Anonymous was said to have uploaded thousands of YouTube videos showing the protests and the resulted violence, with most of them tagged Sidi Bouzid, the city where the center of protests took place.

And while Tunisians along with immigrants in the country are now celebrating, the prime minister promised a clean and honest election within 6 months.

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