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Back to Square One in Tunisia as Protests Spread, Promise Fades

  • Arab Spring’s birthplace roiled again by demands for jobs
  • Lagging economy overshadows success in holding free elections
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Unrest in Tunisia triggered the Arab Spring, and it’s bubbling up again. In the capital, ministers have to pick their way around the mattresses and tattered blankets of protest camps to get to work. No one here has publicly killed themselves, as an unemployed street vendor famously did in 2010. But Thouraya Ferchichi says she’s come close.

“I tried to commit suicide and cut my veins,” said Ferchichi, a 34-year-old who’s taken part in a sit-in outside the Employment Ministry in Tunis since it began eight months ago. “We’re back to where we started,” she says of the post-revolution years. “Marginalization, humiliation and unemployment.”