Key dates in Tunisia since its 2011 revolt

2018-05-04 20:36


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Key developments in Tunisia in the seven years since president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in a revolt that sparked a wave of uprisings in the region.

 President flees 

Ben Ali quits on January 14, 2011 after weeks of demonstrations sparked by the self-immolation of a fruit seller protesting police harassment and unemployment.

He is the first leader to stand down in the Arab Spring, fleeing to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power.

 Victory for Islamists 

In October 2011 Islamist group Ennahda wins 89 of the 217 seats in a new constituent assembly, just months after being legalised in March. It is Tunisia's first free election.

The assembly elects former opposition leader Moncef Marzouki as president in December. Hamadi Jebali, Ennahda's number two, is charged with forming a government.

 Attacks, unrest 

In April 2012 clashes break out between police and thousands of jobless protesters in the capital.

More violent demonstrations follow in June and August and Islamists start staging attacks.

In September four people are killed in clashes as protesters storm the US embassy in Tunis in anger over an anti-Islam film published on the internet.

In late November riots break out in Siliana, southwest of Tunis, in which 300 are injured.

Sometimes-violent strikes and demonstrations affect industry, public services, transport and business. The unrest is mostly in the country's economically sidelined interior.

 Opposition leaders killed 

In February 2013 prominent anti-Islamist opposition leader Chokri Belaid is assassinated in Tunis, sparking deadly protests and a political crisis.

In July leftist opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi is also shot dead. Jihadists claim both killings.

 First free presidential poll 

In January 2014 lawmakers adopt a new constitution after two years of turmoil that exposes a deep rift between Ennahda and the secular opposition.

In October the secular Nidaa Tounes party led by Beji Caid Essebsi comes top in parliamentary polls.

Two months later Essebsi defeats Marzouki in Tunisia's first free presidential election.


In 2015 the country suffers three attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

In March, 21 tourists and a policeman are killed as gunmen assail the Bardo museum in Tunis.

In June attackers kill 38 foreign tourists, 30 from Britain, in a coastal resort town south of Tunis.

And in November a suicide bomber kills 12 presidential guards in the capital.

In March 2016 at least 35 jihadists, 11 members of the security forces and seven civilians are killed during an assault on security installations in the town of Ben Guerdane on the Libyan border.

 Fresh protests 

In January 2016 a new wave of protests against poverty and unemployment erupt throughout the country. It is the worst social unrest since the 2011 revolution.

The unrest fans out from the central town of Kasserine, where an unemployed man died of electrocution during a protest.

In May the International Monetary Fund greenlights a new aid programme which includes a $2.9bn loan over four years.

In August Youssef Chahed of the Nidaa Tounes party forms a national unity government including ministers from Ennahda and independents.

In May 2017 a sit-in at the El Kamour oil and gas plant descends into clashes with security forces.

In January 2018, after an austerity budget comes into force, peaceful protests in several towns turn into riots and clashes between police and young protesters lasting a week.

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