February 17, 2011 / 6:13 PM / 9 years ago

Tunis renames square after man who sparked protests

Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali (2nd L) visits Mohamed Al Bouazzizi (R), the protester who set himself alight during a demonstration against unemployment, at a hospital in Ben Arous near Tunis, December 28, 2010. Bouazizi, a vegetable seller, set himself alight on December 17 and died on January 5, 2011, igniting nationwide protests that forced ex-president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali to flee the country. REUTERS/Tunisian Presidency/Handout

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian authorities renamed the main square in the capital Tunis after a vegetable seller whose suicide sparked the protests that toppled the regime.

The newly named Mohammad Bouazizi Square had previously been November 7 Square, marking the date in 1987 when former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali took power.

Bouazizi set himself on fire in December when police confiscated his goods and scales — a desperate act that launched a wave of protests that led Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia in January and inspired the uprising in Egypt that led President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

The renaming was announced on Thursday by Tunis municipality.

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