This document is a subsection of New Media and Social Movements > Arab Spring

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The Arab Spring: Movement

A rebel fighter on the front lines in Libya, Photos by Tim Freccia
The political energy unleashed by the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia that engulfed the Middle East was unprecedented. This was the first time that popular protest has brought down an authoritarian regime in the Arab world. However, a transition to a democracy does not come automatically at the end of a dictatorship, and the participants of the Arab Spring must now face a new set of political challenges.


Numerous political movements, opposition parties, and public figures supported the protest. Among them were: Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, the Popular Democratic Movement for Change, Youth for Justice and Freedom, and the National Association for Change. The 6 April Youth Movement was a key supporter of the protest. The Ghad, Karama, Wafd and Democratic Front backed the protests. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, also participated in the protest. The leftist National Progressive Unionist Party (the Tagammu) and the Coptic Church stated they would not participate.


A broad coalition of civil society organizations including students, teachers, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, trade unionists, and opposition politicians took to the streets in several cities around the country. The trade unions' role is one of the most striking aspects of the December protests. The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), Tunisia's sole trade union confederation, took a more independent and confrontational stance. Education unions, some of the most independent and aggressive within the UGTT, played a critical role in organizing unemployed workers. Human rights organizations and opposition parties then joined in to denounce the government censorship on media coverage of the protests and the arrests and torture of demonstrators.


The began on February 2011 with a series of peaceful protests and ended on 20 October 2011 as a full scale civil war. The opposing forces were those loyal to Muammar Gaddafi's government and the anti-Gaddafi forces.

The conflict can roughly be divided into the period before external military intervention authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, and afterwards.

The rebel capital of Benghazi,Photos by Tim Freccia

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