On 17 December 2010, clashes occurred in the city Sidi Bouzid (a city in Tunisia) between residents and the police following the public self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, the 27-year-old vegetable vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest against the authorities’ seizure of his goods, after an alleged refusal to pay a bribe to officials, and the police harassment and violence he suffered as a result. He died of his injuries on 4 January 2011.
In early January 2011, more clashes with the police in Sidi Bouzid led to at least 20 deaths. As a direct result, violent protests soon spread through the country, eventually reaching the capital of Tunis. As the uprising intensified, President Ben Ali fled the country on 14 January 2011.