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Sidi Bouzid (Tunisian Arabic: سيدي بوزيد Sīdi Bu Zīd), sometimes called Sidi Bou Zid or Sīdī Bū Zayd, is a city in Tunisia and is the capital of Sidi Bouzid Governorate in the centre of the country. Following the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, it was the site of the first clashes of the Tunisian Revolution and a catalyst for other protests in the region, often known as the Arab Spring.
Ruins at Henchir-Simindja, Bou-Zid have been identified with the Roman era town of Simingi. Simingi was a civitas of the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis. Roman era Simingi was also the seat of an ancient bishopric, suffragan of the Archdiocese of Carthage.
World War II
It was the site of a battle which took place in February 1943, part of the Tunisian Campaign of World War II. This battle began on 14 February 1943 at nearby Faid Pass when the German 10th and 21st Panzer Divisions attacked elements of the US 1st Armored Division and 168th Infantry. This Battle of Sidi Bou Zid was the opening act in what became known as the Battle of Kasserine Pass.
Role in the Tunisian revolution
On 17 December 2010, clashes occurred in Sidi Bouzid between residents and the police following the public suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi. Bouazizi worked as one of the city's street vendors selling fruit. He set fire to himself on 17 December as protest against the authorities' seizure of his goods, after an alleged refusal to pay a bribe to officials, and the police harassment and violence he suffered as a result. He died of his injuries on 4 January 2011.
In early January 2011, more clashes with the police in Sidi Bouzid led to at least 20 deaths. Protesters in Sidi Bouzid began taking pictures, but most importantly video clips, of these events and the violence meted out to them (including firing live rounds) using 'smart phones' and other mobile devices. They were then posted extensively on the web using social media sites. As a direct result, violent protests soon spread through the country, eventually reaching the capital of Tunis. As the uprising intensified, President Ben Ali fled the country on 14 January 2011.
The success of protesters from Sidi Bouzid in publicising their efforts and plight via social media has been seen as the most distinctive and decisive feature in facilitating the following uprisings across North Africa and other Arab nations.
'Secession' from Tunisia
In late July, 2013, officials declared that their city had seceded from Tunisia and would not return to control of the central government unless Islamist government led by Ennahda party was removed from power.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sidi Bouzid (Tunisia).|
- "Sidi Bou Zid: Tunisia, name, administrative division, geographic coordinates and map". Geographical Names. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "Sīdī Bū Zayd: Tunisia, name, administrative division, geographic coordinates and map". Geographical Names. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Jonathan Adams. "Tunisian protests escalate, reflecting widespread discontent." Christian Science Monitor. 10 January 2011. Accessed 10 January 2011.
- "Tunisia death toll rising after weeks of protests over jobs" France24. 11 January 2011. Accessed 12 January 2011
- Beaumont, Peter (25 February 2011). "The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world". The Guardian. London.
- "Former ministerial official claims town of Sidi Bouzid is out of control". The Tunis Times. Tunis. 27 July 2013.