Thousands gathered in the Tunisian capital Thursday to mark the fifth anniversary of ousting President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the uprising that inspired the Arab Spring.

Tunisians thronged Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the main thoroughfare in central Tunis and the epicenter of the revolution.

Some attended political rallies, chanting revolutionary slogans like “Work! Freedom! Dignity!” and waving Tunisian flags, while others listened to concerts or reminisced about the uprising.

For many the anniversary raised mixed feelings, with fierce pride at the revolution tempered by concerns over continued economic problems and a rise in “jihadist” violence.

“The revolution did not help me in any way — prices went up, many young people are still marginalized,” Latifa, a 40-year-old seamstress, told AFP.

“But I came to celebrate anyway, because the revolution brought us some democracy, and that’s important.”

There was a heavy police presence at Thursday’s celebrations, after Tunisia suffered a wave of deadly “jihadist” attacks last year.

Ben Ali stepped down on January 14, 2011 after tens of thousands of Tunisians took to the streets to oppose his 23-year rule, and fled to exile in Saudi Arabia, where he remains.

The revolution inspired similar uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other Arab countries but only Tunisia is considered a success story of the Arab Spring.

 

Manar

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