Mohamed Bouazizi: memories of a Tunisian martyr

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A handout picture released by the Tunisian Presidency on 28 December 2010 shows Tunisian President  Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali (2nd L) looking at Mohamed Bouazizi(R), during his visit at the hospital

Mohamed Bouazizi has become a hero in Tunisia ever since he doused himself in petrol and set himself alight in December, triggering protests which ultimately led to the downfall of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

He sold fruit and vegetables without a permit because he was unable to get a formal job.

Mr Bouazizi, 26, later died from his injuries. His younger sister Samia told the BBC World Service what her brother was going through before his death and how he inspired Tunisia.

"Mohamed was in trouble because agents from the council were asking for bribes every time he was buying and selling his vegetables.

On the day he set himself on fire he went to sell his vegetables as usual.

An agent from the council asked for bribes and again he refused so they took his vegetables, fruit, took his goods and put them in the car. One of them asked for the scales and Mohamed refused.

After that he went to the town hall and asked for his goods and scales to be returned. But they refused so he went to the main government and again asked for his goods to be returned to him.

Mohamed asked to see the governor but the police prevented him from entering the building. Again he pleaded, cried and screamed but still they refused.

All the doors closed before him. He was crying and crying but nobody was helping. So for him the only solution he saw was death.

But it was also a surprise to see all these people with Mohamed’s big picture taking to the streets and shouting his name and crying. There were many people in the centre of Sidi Bouzid. It was a huge movement.

Before in Tunisia there wasn’t any justice or solidarity, fraternity but now owing to Mohamed all young people can talk freely.”

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  • 3 years ago
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