How online activism propelled Tunisia's revolution

Activists say social media sites empowered youth to express their opinion without fear at onset of Arab Spring.

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    Tunis - In 2011, many young citizens placed great importance on the role of online activism at the beginning of a Middle East popular movement that became the Arab Spring.

    The protests in Tunisia, grew as quickly as the anger towards police brutality spread, and the calls for reform reverberated online as they were on the streets.

    Youssef Cherif, a Tunisian political analyst, says social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter empowered young people to express their opinion.

    "Many people lost their fear through Twitter and Facebook - each one writing a little sentence or a word and someone else reading that and saying, 'Oh he say that, I can say a little bit more'," Cherif told Al Jazeera.

    In 2008, there were also protests but "barely no one knew" what was going on, because of the limited presence of social media, Cherif said.

    "However, in 2011, when more than a million Tunisians were on Facebook, [watching] the videos of police brutality, videos of people daring to confront the security forces, people said, 'Wow, this is really happening'."

     The Arab Spring domino effect

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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