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Monday, June 20, 2011
Tunisian fruit vendor set's himself on fire after his cart was seized by police
(Tunisia, North East Africa - December 2010)- Protests began to erupt after the self-immolation of a fruit vendor whose cart had been seized by local police authorities.
His fiery suicide touched off a firestorm among Tunisians fed up with corruption, high unemployment and escalating food prices. Ben Ali fled the country in mid-January, after a revolt that left at least 300 people dead and 700 wounded, a top U.N. human rights expert said last month.
The former strongman's political party has since been dissolved by a court order, and parliamentary elections have been scheduled for July.
Earlier this month, Ben Ali said he has been unfairly portrayed and discredited by political opponents seeking to make a break with their country's past. In a written statement released by one of his attorneys, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, Ben Ali said it was time to break his silence because he was "tired of being made a scapegoat" and is a victim of "injustice."
Ben Ali said that searches of his official and personal offices were "merely stage dressing" meant to discredit him. He denied allegations that he had improper bank accounts or property holdings outside Tunisia, calling the charges "nothing but a masquerade with the only purpose of illustrating a symbolic break with the past."
Contrary to the assertions of his opponents, Ben Ali argued that he worked for what he thought "was the good of the Tunisian people, improving living standards and progressing on the path to modernity."