A 26 year old Tunisian man has died of burns he sustained protesting against police treatment on December 17 2010.
Mohamed Bouazizi died on the evening of Tuesday 4th January 2011, at 17:30 local time, as a result of third degree burns.
Mohamed Bouazizi was an unemployed Tunisian graduate, whose suicide attempt sparked a number of protests in Tunisia.
Bouazizi covered himself in petrol and set himself on fire in an attempted suicide in front of Government buildings in the town of Sidi Bouzid, on 17 December. He took this action after the local police had confiscated his fruit and vegetable stand because he did not have a valid permit.
Two further protesters died during a week of rising tensions following Bouazizi’s attempted suicide: Houcine Falhi, 22, electrocuted himself at a protest; and Mohamed Ammari, 18, was shot to death by police.
At least one further person engaging in related protests is believed to have been shot dead by police since 17 December.
The Tunisian Bar Association has scheduled a general strike for Thursday 6th January 2011.
Mass unemployment in the country is believed to be the main driving force behind the unrest, though some media outlets have claimed that internet access in the country is being restricted, which, if true, could be further exacerbating ill feeling.
Unemployment within Tunisia was put at over 13% generally by the IMF, but rises as high as 44% for female graduates and 25% for male graduates in certain deprived areas, including the town of Sidi Bouzid, where Mohamed Bouazizi’s action first sparked broader protesting.
It remains to be seen whether news of Mohamed Bouazizi’s death will cause further civil unrest.