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directed to e-mail Foetus, who didn’t know him personally. Foetus
decided on the basis of a Skype call to trust the source. Takriz lead-
ers knew that Ben Ali would cut off the area as he had during the
2008 protests in Gafsa, so they rushed more Taks in to get there
before road and Internet access was severed.
This poor interior region, far from the wealth of the capital and
coastline, is hardscrabble territory. The people are tough: when
one Tak was killed there, his mother, who has half a dozen sons
working the fields, responded on a Takriz video by saying, “Even
if I lose all my sons, I don’t care.” Protests and riots there have
traditionally focused on issues such as unemployment. But Takriz
tried to redirect them toward a particular end: removing Ben Ali.
Molotovs and stuff
“We were online every day,” says Foetus, “and on the streets pretty
much every day, collecting information, collecting videos, organizing
protests, getting into protests.” Some met in person, in and outside
Tunisia. Others logged in to an emergency online space. “We met
The electronic mailing list Takriz
is created, with an initial focus on
issues like freedom of speech and
affordable Internet access in Tuni-
sia. It will eventually be censored
by the government.
Six months of protests begin
near Gafsa, Tunisia, over corrup-
tion and bad working conditions.
april 6, 2008
Protests begin in an Egyptian
industrial city, El-Mahalla el-Kobra.
OctOber 25, 2009
Tunisia’s President Ben Ali is
reëlected, with a suspiciously
high 89 percent of the vote.
June 6, 2010
A young computer programmer,
Khaled Said, is beaten to death
by police after being arrested
at a cybercafé. He will become
Egypt’s revolutionary icon after
ghastly post-mortem photos
taken on his brother’s phone are
posted to Facebook.
nOvember 28, 2010
Wikileaks releases a trove of
U.S . diplomatic documents. Tuni-
sian dissidents set up a website
to publicize the cables that
document repression by their
December 17, 2010
Mohamed Bouazizi, a poor veg-
etable seller, sets himself on fire,
triggering the Tunisian revolution.
December 31, 2010
Lawyers assemble to protest in
cities throughout Tunisia. They
are attacked and beaten by
January 2, 2011
The hacking group Anonymous
announces Operation Tunisia
and begins targeting govern-
ment websites with denial-of-
January 6, 2011
Two weeks after attempting to
hack into dissidents’ accounts
on social networks, Tunisian
authorities arrest several promi-
January 8, 2011
The regime intensifies its crack-
down; over the next five days,
dozens of people are killed in
January 13, 2011
Ben Ali addresses the nation,
expressing “very, very deep and
massive regret” about the deaths.
He offers to stand down in 2014.
January 14, 2011
A massive crowd in Tunis pro-
tests the government, forcing
Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia.
January 21, 2011
Inspired by the toppling of
Tunisia’s president, the Muslim
Brotherhood in Jordan leads
thousands of demonstrators in
a march on Amman, demanding
economic and political reforms
from King Abdullah II.
January 25, 2011
Thousands take to the streets
in Egypt to call for an end to
the regime of President Hosni
Mubarak. Over the following
weeks, hundreds of thousands
of protesters occupy Cairo’s Tah-
rir Square, making it a symbol of
revolution in Arab countries.
January 27, 2011
Over 10,000 protesters in
impoverished Yemen march
against the regime of President
Ali Abdullah Saleh.
February 11, 2011
Mubarak resigns after 18 days
of protests against his regime.
February 12, 2011
Pro-democracy activists assemble
in the Algerian capital to demand
reforms from the government of
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
February 14, 2011
Demonstrations begin in Bahrain,
calling for an end to the monarchy
of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
February 15, 2011
Large-scale protests against
Libyan dictator Muammar Gad-
dafi begin. They quickly spread
and intensify until the country
plunges into civil war.
February 20, 2011
Using Facebook to organize,
Moroccan activists stage pro-
tests demanding constitutional
reforms to break the autocracy
of King Mohammed.
march 15, 2011
Simmering discontent with
the Baathist regime of Bashar
Assad boils over when Syrians
hold a “day of rage” in Damas-
cus and Aleppo.
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