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In-depth: the Arab Spring



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Tunisian citizens are the first to rise up against their government. The grass-roots organization in Sidi Bouzid arguably has been the most salient precipitator of the entire ‘Arab Spring’.

17 December 2010
Mohammed Bouazizi sets himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid, which sets of local protests. This was the catalyst for the Tunisian chapter of the Arab Spring.

Late December 2010
Protests spread from Sidi Bouzid to the capital city of Tunis, around 1,000 demonstrators joined together in solidarity against the government. Opposition activists and professional syndicates joined protestors. Protests began to spread to other important Tunisian cities including, Sfax and Meknassy.

3 January 2011
Protests erupt in Thala over the cost of living, high rates of unemployment and harsh political restrictions.

6 January 2011
In response to the harsh beating of lawyers early on in the revolution, almost all of Tunisia’s lawyers went on strike. They were subsequently joined by teachers.

11/12 January 2011
The government began to adopt a harsher stance: police used riot gear to quell the uprising. Moreover, the military was deployed across Tunisia, in an effort to intimidate protestors. A curfew was also ordered in Tunis.

14 January 2011
President Ben Ali goes into exile in Saudi Arabia ending 23 years in power. Nonetheless, protests persist.

17 January 2011
Protests erupted once again, this time in response to the presence of Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD) members in the newly instated government. This protest was generally peaceful. These protests continued over the next few days demanding that all former Ben Ali allies be expelled from the new government.

February 2011
Prime Minister Ghannouchi announces the make-up of a temporary national unity government; he fails to fully satisfy protestors.

March 2011
July 24th is decided on as the date for the election of a constitutional council. RCD is disbanded and dissolved by Court order.

June 2011
Ben Ali is tried for theft and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

23 October 2011
Tunisian citizens vote to choose representatives for the constiuent assembly. This assembly is charged with the task of drawing up a new constitution and will appoint an interim government until future elections determine a permanent government.

Late October 2011
The leader of he newly elected Ennahda Party, Rachid Ghannouchi, claims the moderate Islamist party is committed to democracy and women’s rights. The party also stated it would not impose Shari’a law on society.




Courtesy of Syriana2011  some rights reserved


The Syrian uprising has been continuous and violent since its eruption in late January 2011. Demands by protestors include, the resignation of Bashar al-Assad, equal rights for Kurdish citizens and the end of oppressive Ba’th party rule. The United Nations has claimed that at least 3,000 people have been killed.

26 January 2011
small scale protests began when Hasan Ali Akleh from Al-Hasakah mimicked Mohamed Bouazizi from Tunisia by lighting himself on fire in a protest against the Syrian government.

4/5 February 2011
Protestors inaugurated this date as a ‘Day of Rage’ in Syria, projecting the message across numerous social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Following this announcement, hundreds of citizens marched through the streets of Hasaka but Syrian security forces crushed these uprisings with significant force.

March 2011
The uprising in Syria began to escalate, as demonstrations took place across a multitude of Syrian cities with ever increasing strength in numbers.

April 2011
As the uprisings expanded across the country, they also became more violent. A harsh military crackdown on April 8th led to the death of at least 30 citizens; with numbers well into the hundreds by the end of the month.

May 2011
Baniyas (a major Syrian city) was besieged in May dividing it into a civilian controlled south and a security force controlled north.

July 2011
Obama administration discredited the Assad regime, claiming the Syrian government was acting illegally but Obama did not demand that President Bashar al-Assad resign.

October 2011
The Syrian protestors established the Syrian National Council which has been to this date the most serious attempt to bring together the opposition to the Assad regime.

November 2011
After finally accepting to halt violence and to negotiate with the opposition, the Syrian government launched yet another violent attack to re-assert controls over Homs, the third largest Syrian city and the most important to the Assadi rule. The struggle in Syria thus continues without international intervention or a foreseeable end.

12 November 2011
Arab League suspends Syrian membership, a symbolic manoeuvre that discredits Syrian claims for Arab unity. The league accused Assad of failing to comply with an agreement set out by the League to end repression.

16/17 November 2011
Free Syrian Army carried out armed attacks against the offices of ruling Baath party officials. Many believe the country is moving closer towards a civil war; the Arab League and Russia’s inability to control the bloodshed in the country are worrisome signs.

21 November 2011
Representatives from the opposition forces met in London with Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague to discuss peace in Syria.




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27 January 2011
Major demonstrations break out in Sana’a following the example of successes in Tunisia.

2 February 2011
President Ali Abdullah Saleh formally announces he will not run for a second term.

22 May 2011
Saleh backs out of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal which would have began a reconciliation process between the oppositon and President Saleh. He refuses to sign claiming that his signature is not necessary and the deal is put on hold.

3 January 2011
Amidst serious violent clashes, Saleh is injured. He is hospitalized in Saudi Arabia.

23 September 2011
Saleh returns to Yemen, promises he will leave by October. He has stated he will accept something similar to the original plan that was sponsored by the GCC in May; although how much of it is uncertain.

Mid-October 2011
Demonstrators have escalated protests by marching in the streets, specifically in pro-government areas of the city as a means to spark controversy and the move sparked attacks by the security forces. According to the New York Times, protestors have been supported by soldiers who are loyal to a rebel commander, which increases the likelihood of a civil war in Yemen.

22 November 2011
President Ali Abdullah Saleh finally signed an agreement ending his authoritarian rule in Yemen. The agreement transferred power to his vice president while allowing President Saleh to retain immunity from prosecution as well as his title as President.  Nevertheless, it is a significant move on the part of Mr. Saleh who has resisted attempts to sign such an agreement for months. Hopes are high in Yemen.




“LEAVE” – Courtesy Essam Sharaf

11 December 2011
The bombing of Coptic Church in Egypt marks the beginning of protests. While the perceived unfair treatment of Copts started the protests, soon many more issues, especially regular Egyptians’ economic and social grievances against the corrupt Mubarak-government would drive the protests.

17 January 2011
Inspired by Tunisian, Mohammed Bouazizi, an Egyptian man sets himself alight in efforts to raise awareness of poor living conditions.

25 January 2011
Protests officially begin. Centred in Tahrir Square, the protestors demand Mubarak’s resignation. Security forces respond to the protestors with tear gas and violence. The protests attract international media attention and support, while the use of violence by Mubarak’s security forces attracts condemnation.

29 January 2011
Trying to signal future path of political succession and thereby quell the protests, Mubarak appoints Vice-President, Oman Suleiman. However, this announcement seemingly comes too late, as the protests continue and the security force increases its violence. Mubarak’s announcement coincides with news of a rising death toll, numbering 100.

2 February 2011
February 2 marks the infamous day of violent crack-down by Mubarak thugs against protestors in Tahrir Square.

14 February 2011
Mubarak resigns amidst rising domestic and international pressure for him to do so. He hands power over to the military (SCAF – Supreme Council of the Armed Forces).

March 2011
A nation-wide Constitutional Referendum is held, in which an overwhelming majority express support for amendments to the Constitution, regarding term limits and candidates.

August 2011
Mubarak is put on trial.

16 September 2011
Egyptians rally against the re-imposition of emergency law, characteristic of the Mubarak regime.

20 November 2011
Protests again fill Tahrir Square. The security forces use violence.

21 November 2011
Following 33 deaths and 2,000 injuries, Egypt’s interim government offers its resignation.

22 November 2011
Protestors in Tahrir Square reject the proposal by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), to allow for elections on June 30, which would allow for a civilian government to be elected.

28 November 2011
Date elections will start, (1st of 3 rounds).  Large number of parties and candidates coupled with lack of strong frontrunner makes the outcome uncertain.




16 February 2011
Protests begin in the capital city, Benghazi.

17 February 2011
Forces loyal to Gaddafi kill 15 protestors.

25 February 2011
As protests reach the capital, Tripoli, Gaddafi vows to “open up the arsenals” against the protestors. There is an escalation of violence across country; civil war between anti-Gaddafi and pro-Gaddafi forces begins. In response, there is increasing international attention, including from the U.N.

18 March 2011
After a series of deliberations, the U.N. agrees to a “no-fly” zone.

23 March 2011
NATO takes over military control of Libya operation.

30 April 2011
Rebels reject Gaddafi’s cease-fire offer

15 July 2011
Libyan rebels gain political recognition from prominent members of the international community, namely Great Britain

14 August 2011
Rebels advance onto Tripoli, marking a significant turning point.

26 August 2011
After defeating Gaddafi forces in the capital, the rebels move their interim government to Tripoli.

20 October 2011
Gaddafi is killed as his hometown, Sirte, the final government hold-out, falls to rebel and NATO forces.
Seven days later, the NTC (National Transitional Council) announces that Gaddafi’s “killer” will face criminal prosecution.

31 October 2011
NATO ends military operations in Libya.

19 November 2011
Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s fugitive son, is captured.

20 November 2011
Gaddafi’s Intelligence Chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, is captured in the southern desert of Libya.



Bahrain :

Courtesy of Al Jazeera English Some rights reserved

14 February 2011
First protests begin in Bahrain against the King, Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah. Brahrain, a majority Shi’ia country, ruled by a Sunni monarchy, the protests, led by the country’s oppressed Shi’a population, have decidedly sectarian undertones.

15 February 2011
Thousands of protestors camp out on the Pearl Roundabout in Manama.

17 February 2011
Four people in the Pearl Square are killed by security forces of the regime.

14 March 2011
Saudi troops enter Bahrain, seeking to boost the stability of their fellow monarchy.

28 April 2011
Military court sentences 4 anti-government protestors to death, sparking condemnation by human rights activists.

2 July 2011
Reconciliation talks between Sunni government and Al-Wefaq, the majority Shi’a opposition party, take place. However, little is agreed upon and the protests continue.

7 September 2011
100 Bahraini activists stage a hunger strike.

29 September 2011
A Bahraini military court jails 20 medical doctors for treating civilian protestors.

22 October 2011
On this day, the Saudi Prince, Abdul-Aziz al Saud, dies. This is important to Bahrain because it likely means the successor to King Abdullah will be Prince Nayef, one of the most conservative members of the Saudi monarchy, who is said to be behind the decision to send Saudi troops to Bahrain to suppress the protestors.

23 October 2011
Retrial of Bahraini medics commences in a civilian court amidst U.N. condemnation of human rights abuses.


– Naomi Braude & Caitlin Macdonald




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  1. This is so awesome guys!

  2. Great work :) Very clear, concise and organized

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