Court drops charges against policewoman slapped Tunisia's protests "spark plug"

11:08, April 20, 2011      

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A Tunisian court dropped on Tuesday charges against a policewoman who slapped Mohamed Bouaziz, a graduate-turned-vendor who became a hero in Tunisia after setting himself on fire in December.

Bouaziz's self-immolation has triggered protests which led to the downfall of President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The state news agency TAP said a court in the town of Sidi Bouzid decided not to go ahead with the case against policewoman Fedia Hamdi after the vendor's family withdrew original complaints.

Bouaziz's death sparked youth-generated and streets-born protests in Tunisia and then has sparked across the Arab world. Hamdi was accused of slapping Bouaziz, who had to sell fruits and vegetables illegally after his attempts to get a decent job were in vain.

Even worse, his wares were confiscated due to the dearth of a necessary permit.

In December and out of despair, he doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire after policemen barred him from meeting the governor.

Bouaziz's death led to protests by young men over unemployment and corruption in the North African country, however a heavy- handed police crackdown failed to quell the protests.

On Jan. 14, Ben Ali has forced to flee to Saudi Arabia and put an end to his 23-year-long rule.

Source: Xinhua
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