Tunisia unveils Bouazizi cart statue in Sidi Bouzid
- 17 December 2011
- From the section Africa
Tunisians have unveiled a statue in honour of the man who set himself alight a year ago, unleashing a protest movement that ended President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule.
Tunisia's new President Moncef Marzouki joined flag-waving crowds in Sidi Bouzid in commemoration.
Fruitseller Mohamed Bouazizi's suicide sparked a wave of unrest which swept from Sidi Bouzid across the Arab world.
He was rushed to hospital in a coma with 90% burns, and died on 5 January.
"Thank you to this land, which has been marginalised for centuries, for bringing dignity to the entire Tunisian people," said Mr Marzouki, who was named president earlier this week, after Tunisia's first free elections in October.
Thousands of people carrying flags and pictures of Bouazizi and other dead protesters had flocked from around the country for the anniversary in the under-developed town.
The 26-year-old fruit and vegetable salesman had supported eight people on less than $150 (£100) a month, and his ambition was to trade up from a wheelbarrow to a pick-up truck.
His family say he refused to pay three council inspectors bribes, so they seized his goods and beat him. He was refused an audience with the governor so he poured a can of petrol over himself and lit a match.
The protests that ensued have ended authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, while triggering months of deadly protests in Syria.