Thursday, 13 January 2011

The day the Tunisian Firewall came down

Update - Slim Amamou is free - @slim404: je suis Libre

At OpenNet Initiative, Tunisia Shuts Off Internet Filter, by Jillian C York:
Following a speech in which Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali stated that all censorship of the internet and traditional media will be halted, Tunisia appears to have shut off its Internet filtering system.

At around 9:45pm local time, Tunisian news site Nawaat
reported on Twitter that their site, along with video-sharing sites YouTube and DailyMotion, had been unblocked:

“Nous confirmons, la censure illégale de Nawaat est levée POUR CE SOIR. Youtube et dailymotion également.”

The Australian, Tunisia celebrates as President backs down, by James Bone:
Crowds have poured on to the streets of the Tunisian capital after the country's autocratic president announced a dramatic climbdown on the eve of a general strike that threatened to plunge the Mediterranean tourist haven into its worst violence yet.

President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, 74, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1987, appeared on television to promise he would not seek a sixth term in office in 2014.

He ordered cuts in the price of bread, milk and sugar in an attempt to quell the month-long "Jasmine Revolt," named after the national flower, that has claimed dozens of lives.

Hours after an American journalist was wounded and a protester killed by police amid escalating protests, Mr Ben Ali said he would also instruct security forces to stop using firearms against demonstrators.

Despite a curfew, jubilant crowds thronged the main Avenue Habib Bourguiba, with cars honking their horns in delight.

France 24, Ben Ali rules out ‘presidency for life’ as chaos spreads:
“No one believes in this government any longer. From the elite of Tunis to the lowly worker who earns 80 euros a month,” said Vincent Geisser, a researcher at the Paris-based Institute for Arab and Muslim Studies.

“Given the politicization and radicalization of the movement, the fact that it is spreading to other cities, and the participation of multiple sectors of society – the country’s only trade union, political parties, white collar professionals including lawyers – it was obvious the president’s statements would not convince Tunisians,” Geisser told

At Global Voices, Hisham rounds up immediate online reactions to the speech. Continued shooting by police reported.

At NPR’s news blog, The Two-Way, Andy Carvin is putting together a chronology of online documents, blog posts, tweets and videos, telling the story of Tunisia’s weeks of protest so far.

Opinion at Democracy Arsenal, When Pro-Western Regimes Fall: What Should the U.S. Do? by Shadi Hamid, and at Foreign Policy, Where are the democracy promoters on Tunisia? by Marc Lynch.


Anonymous said...

I knew you'd blog about this Kellie. Thanks.

kellie said...

An incredible day. First it seems unbelievable to see Ben Ali concede, then the reverse feeling that it's unbelievable he's still trying to hang on for a time yet, with who knows how many unarmed protesters dead in just the past few days.