Tunisia unrest timeline

AFP, Friday 14 Jan 2011

Recent developments in the north African state of Tunisia, where widespread unrest over unemployment and high prices has turned into protests against authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

DECEMBER 2010

- 17: Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old university graduate, sets himself alight in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid in a protest over unemployment. He dies on January 5 from burn wounds.

- 19: Bouzazizi's protest touches off a wave of unrest and clashes in Sidi Bouzid.

- 24: Two are killed in clashes at Menzel Bouzayane, not far from Sidi Bouzid.

JANUARY 2011

- 8-10: More than 50 people die in three days of rioting in Tunisia's central Kasserine region, according to a trade union representative. The authorities say 21 died.

- 10: Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali slams "terrorist acts" by hoodlums but also pledges to create 300,000 extra jobs in a television address.

- 11: The first clashes take place in the capital Tunis and its suburbs, while clashes continue in Kasserine.

- 12: Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announces the dismissal of interior minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem, the freeing of those arrested, except those involved in acts of "vandalism", and a probe into corruption.

- Several demonstrators are killed, while troops are deployed in Tunis and the residential suburb of Ettadhamen.

- The government imposes a curfew in the capital, where a rights group says eight have been killed overnight in unrest.

- The UN calls on Tunisia to launch an independent probe into the violence.

- 13: The army withdraws from Tunis, which remains occupied by special forces. One demonstrator is shot dead.

- Ben Ali says he will not seek another term in office and orders police to stop firing on protesters.

- Rioting and pillaging in the tourist station of Hammamet, 60 kilometres, or 37 miles, to the south of Tunis.

- Medical sources say 13 civilians died in security force gunfire in the Tunisian capital and its suburbs, after Ben Ali's speech on Thursday.

- The leaders of the North African branch of Al-Qaeda -- AQIM -- call for the overthrow of Ben Ali.

- 14: Thousands of protesters demand Ben Ali resign in marches across the country.

- Tourism firm Thomas Cook says it is evacuating more than 2,000 tourists from Tunisia

- Ben Ali sacks the government and calls early elections in six months

-Ben Ali declares state of emergency

-Ben Ali leaves the country, PM Mohammed Ghannouchi declares himself interim president

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