On December 18, 2010, the first protest
s of what became the “Arab Spring
” took place in Tunisia. The Arab Spring was a series of populist
protests against government
s across the “Arab world”—Arabic-speaking countries in North Africa and the Middle East.
Tunisians were driven to protest by the suicide
of Mohamed Bouazizi. Bouazizi was a street vendor
who set himself on fire to protest abuse
s of power by local officials and police
. News of protests and protesters was shared through social media
, especially Twitter. A year later, demand for government reform
had spread to Algeria, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Bahrain, Libya, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Protests in Djibouti, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, and Israel were also associate
d with the Arab Spring.
Tunisia’s government was overthrow
n. The governments of Egypt, Libya, and Yemen also fell. Protests in Syria led to a brutal civil war
that, as of December 2015, is ongoing.