Six years after a young fruit seller in the city of Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire to protest unemployment and police brutality, the instance that marked for many the beginning of the Arab Spring, protests sprung up throughout Tunisia Saturday to voice many of the same concerns yet again.
The 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali saw demands for social and economic opportunities — the same demands that reverberated across the country over the weekend.
President Beji Caid Essebsi made visits to Sidi Bouzid, Meknassi and Gafsa, where demonstrations were held and protesters numbered in the hundreds. In Gafsa, young, angry youth threw stones at President Essebsi’s convoy, forcing him to change route before he left the city by air.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed appeared on national television Friday night to acknowledge the grievances of Tunisian citizens.
"Today, we are not achieving this (democracy) because unemployment and social inequalities have increased," Chahed said, as reported by Al Jazeera.
"The revolution in itself is a big win, we can't ever ignore that, but people can't even afford food," Imen Dridi, from Tunis, told Al Jazeera.
Taoufik Selmi, another resident, from Sidi Bouzid, told Al Jazeera, "We haven't seen any change here since the revolution … We might be free of oppression now, but we're hungry and cold."
While President Essebsi on Saturday announced a package of new projects during his visit to Gafsa, security forces allegedly fired tear gas at protestors that were hurling stones at his convoy.
In Sidi Bouzid, people chanted, "Work is a right, bunch of thieves," and other slogans from the revolution.