Middle East

Tunisian revolution hero's mother arrested: brother

Manoubia Bouazizi gestures after casting her ballot at a polling station in Marsa district, north of Tunis October 23, 2011. REUTERS

TUNIS: The mother of the Tunisian peddler whose suicide sparked the Arab Spring has been arrested after getting into a scuffle with a court official, a family member said on Friday.

Salem Bouazizi, brother of Mohammed Bouazizi whose death made him a symbol for the frustrations of many, said their mother had been held for allegedly attacking the official in Sidi Bouzid, the central town where Tunisia's revolution began.

Bouazizi said his mother had returned an insult after the court employee insulted her, pushed her and slammed a door in her face, refusing to assist his mother's application for documents.

"This is an insult to the mother of a martyr," he said, demanding his mother Manoubia's immediate release.

There was no immediate comment from the justice ministry.

Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire on a street on December 17, 2010, infuriated after a policewoman confiscated his goods, and died the following month.

His act sparked a wave of protests that spread through Tunisia's neglected hinterlands to the capital, forcing veteran dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee on January 14, 2011.

Ben Ali's departure sent shockwaves around the Arab world and sparked uprisings that ultimately overthrew leaders in Egypt and Libya last year.

The families of those killed in the Tunisian revolution have complained that the government has done little compensate them or to improve the position of the country's worst off.





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