On December 18, 2010, the first protests of what became the “Arab Spring” took place in Tunisia. The Arab Spring was a series of populist protests against governments 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 abuses 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 associated with the Arab Spring.
 
Tunisia’s government was overthrown. 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.
abuse
Verb

to treat wrongly, or in a harmful way.

Arab Spring
Noun

(2010-ongoing) demonstrations and uprisings supporting democracy throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

associate
Verb

to connect.

brutal
Adjective

extreme, harsh, or cruel.

civil war
Noun

conflict between groups in the same country or nation.

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

overthrow
Verb

to forcibly remove from power.

police
Noun

local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.

populist
Noun

person or idea that supports grass-roots democracy and activism.

protest
noun, verb

demonstration against a policy or action.

reform
noun, verb

change or improvement of a policy or process.

social media
Plural Noun

online means of communication used by people to develop social and professional contacts.

suicide
Noun

intentional taking of one's own life.

vendor
Noun

someone who sells something.

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