February 6, 2013 / 2:35 PM / 7 years ago

Timeline: New unrest in Tunisia after political assassination

(Reuters) - Here is a timeline of events in Tunisia since Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali became the first autocratic leader to fall in the Arab Spring uprisings.

December 17, 2010 - Mohamed Bouazizi sets fire to himself in the central town of Sidi Bouzid in protest at the confiscation by police of his vegetable cart. Local people rally in support. Bouazizi later dies of his burns. Huge funeral increases momentum of protests against unemployment and repression.

January 14, 2011 - After days of clashes in which dozens of people are killed, and having made empty promises of reforms and elections, Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi stays on, with parliamentary speaker Fouad Mebazza as interim president.

February 27 - Ghannouchi resigns after violent protests over his ties to Ben Ali, triggering street celebrations in Tunis. He is replaced by Beji Caid Sebsi, a former foreign minister under 1960s independence President Habib Bourguiba.

March 7 - Sebsi unveils a new cabinet of technocrats rather than career politicians, none of whom had served in governments under Ben Ali. The Interior Ministry says Ben Ali’s political police and state security apparatus has been dissolved.

June 20 - A Tunisian court sentences Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi, in absentia to 35 years in prison for theft and illegal possession of large sums of cash. In July a court adds a 16-year jail term for Ben Ali and his son-in-law for corruption.

October 23 - Tunisia votes in the first election of the Arab Spring, choosing from among 80 political parties to form an assembly charged with drafting a constitution within a year.

December 12/13 - Members of the constitutional assembly vote to elect former dissident Moncef Marzouki as president, the second most powerful role after the prime minister. Hamadi Jebeli, secretary general of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, is designated as prime minister.

May/June 2012 - Hundreds of Salafi Islamists attack bars and shops and clash with security forces in Jendouba, raising religious-secularist tensions. In June, the government lifts a curfew imposed following riots by Salafis and others over an art exhibition they deemed insulting to Islam.

November 30 - Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, says Tunisian authorities must stop using firearms against demonstrators after more than 220 people are reported injured in clashes between protesters demanding jobs and police in Siliana, on the edge of the Sahara Desert.

February 6, 2013 - Opposition secularist politician Chokri Belaid is shot dead, sparking huge street protests. Prime Minister Jebali calls the killing a political assassination and a strike against the “Arab Spring” revolution.

Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Mark Heinrich

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