The Arab Spring is one year old and they have been celebrating in the place where it all started – Tunisia.
People gathered in Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis where protests against the then President Ben Ali reached their climax, forcing him to flee a year ago today.
Despite Tunisia’s progress since, problems remain including poverty, unemployment and corruption.
One man in the crowd said he had been suffering for the last six months and that nobody cared.
“They arrested my son for no reason, six months ago. He was wrongly accused. He went to the police station to pick up an identity document and never came back,” he said, struggling to hold back tears.
Others are angry about close ties between Tunisia’s new Islamist-led coalition and Qatar which is accused of buying influence in the country.
“We are grieving today,” a woman said.
“The current regime is giving us a day to celebrate the revolution. They are giving an invitation to Qatar to celebrate this occasion,” she added, referring to the visit of its Emir.
“We thank them for selling Tunisia to these people!”
Our correspondent in Tunisia, Jamel Ezzedini, said:
“Tunisia’s revolution is marking its first anniversary but it still has a long way to go before its objectives are reached. Tunisians are in the streets today to celebrate, but also to remind the leadership that the revolution that toppled Ben Ali can get rid of them too if they have not yet learned the lesson.”
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