Against Chronos, for Chaos: First, a warning on the political usage of chronology. The attempt to codify these mass ruptures into the historical framework of chronology allows the events and situations to be captured by the History of Civilization. This in turn will phantasmagoricaly dissolve these moments of insurrection into the conspiracies of a invisible dictatorship or a revolutionary vanguard, while simultaneously imposing a regime of reification upon the singular acts of subjective revolt. Being conscious of this, and so many other reasons not to summaries such a massive and indescribable phenomenon as a general insurrection- I have decided to do so in order to contest the pacifist rendition of events, which isolate certain actions and negated others. This chronology is simply a montage of numerous incidents reported by various news agenizes, in compiling them together I hope only to derive a little more understanding then intended by their original reproduction. Its creation joins the publishing of my travel writings from touring North Africa in the wake of the rupture: Fragments of Intifada: the smashing of the state and its withering away in Tunisia and Egypt.
– Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old man trying to support his family by selling fruits and vegetables in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, douses himself in paint thinner and sets himself on fire in front of a local municipal office.
Police had confiscated his produce cart because he lacked a permit and beat him when he resisted. Local officials then refused his hear his complaint. He is taken to a hospital near Tunis for treatment of his third-degree burns.
The news spreads like a prairie fire; the social ruptures begin in Sidi Bouzid, they quickly spread across the region, then the country.
-The Tunisian development minister, travels to Sidi Bouzid to announce a new $10 million employment program. Protests continue unabated.
-Hundreds rally in front of the Tunisian labor union headquarters over rampant unemployment; as well as clashing with Tunisian security forces in the central towns of al-Ragab and Miknassi. Skirmishes break out when security forces stage overnight crackdown campaigns.
–Demonstrations and street battles spread to Kairouan, Sfax and Ben Guerdane. An interior ministry spokesperson says police were forced to ‘shoot in self-defense’ after warning shots failed to disperse scores of insurgents who were setting police cars and buildings ablaze.
–Police and demonstrators fight as one thousand hold a rally, calling for jobs in a show of solidarity with those protesting in poorer regions. Demonstrations also break out in Sousse.
-The Tunisian Federation of Labor Unions holds another rally in Gafsa province, which is supressed by security forces. At the same time, about 300 lawyers demonstrate near the government’s palace in Tunis in solidarity with protesters. Lawyers march in several other cities as well.
–Security forces attack a demonstration in the northeastern city of Monastir and the town of Sbikha. There are also reports of violence in the town of Chebba.
–Lawyers across Tunisia respond to a call to assemble in protest over the arrested lawyers and in solidarity with the people of Sidi Bouzid. Authorities react to the protests with force, and lawyers were ‘savagely beaten’.
–The hacktivist group “Anonymous” announces ‘Operation Tunisia’ in solidarity with the protests by striking a number of government websites with “direct denial of service” attacks, flooding them with traffic and temporarily shutting them down. Several online activists report on Twitter that their email and Facebook accounts were hacked.
-About 250 demonstrators, mostly students, revolt in the city of Thala. The protest turns riot after police try to stop it by firing tear gas canisters. In response, protesters set fire to tires and attack the local offices of the ruling party.
-Mohamed Bouazizi, who launched the uprising by setting himself on fire two and a half weeks earlier dies. A massive funeral is later held for him in Sidi Bouzid, his hometown.
-Tunisia’s 8,000 lawyers launch a strike demanding an end to police brutality against protesters.
– Police arrest a group of bloggers, journalists, activists and a hip hop artist in a crackdown on dissent. Some of them reportedly go missing.
-At least six protesters are reportedly killed and six others wounded in clashes with police in Tala, a provincial town near the border with Algeria. Another three people were killed in similar clashes in the Kasserine region.
-In Tala, police fired their weapons after using water cannons to try to disperse the multitude, which had set fire to a government building. The crowd has also thrown stones and petrol bombs at police.
-Tear gas and stone-throwing youths, many of them street venors, reached the heart of Tunisia’s once-calm capital. The riot has turned insurrection.
-Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s president, makes a televised address, announcing unprecedented concessions and vowing not to seek re-election in 2014. He pledges to introduce more freedoms into society, institutional reforms, and investigate the killings of protesters during demonstrations. Formerly blocked or banned websites reportedly become accessible. The country continues to burn.
–Ben Ali declares a state of emergency and fires the government.
-State media reports that gatherings of more than three people have been banned and “arms will be used if orders of security forces are not heeded.”
-That night, as the revolt escalates the president and his family flee for their lives.
-Mohammed Ghannouchi, the prime minister, appears on state television to announce that he is assuming the role of interim president.January 15:
-Insurgents emptied shops and torched the main train station in Tunis, soldiers traded fire with assailants in front of the Interior Ministry, and thousands of European tourists flee in white-flight.
-Insurgents ransack expensive manors belonging to the old regime, and tourch banks run by the family of Ben Ali, as well as burning vehicles made by Kia, Fiat and Porsche — carmakers distributed in Tunisia by members of the ruling family.
-Residents in several parts of Tunis form community militias, whilst groups of provocateurs were prowling through neighborhoods at night setting fire to buildings and attacking people and homes, with no police in sight.
– A fire set during a prison uprising in Monastir in eastern Tunisia killed at least 42 inmates.
– In Mahdia, further down the coast, inmates set fire to their mattresses in protest. Soldiers opened fire, killing five inmates. The revolting prisoners then overwhelmed the guards, took control of the prison and opened the gates for the liberation of 1000 internees.
-In front of the Interior Ministry in Tunis, security forces and unidentified assailants had a shootout.
– a group of Swedes on a hunting trip in Tunisia were attacked.
-An interim government is announced, but includes several Ben Ali loyalists in key posts – including the defense, interior and foreign ministers – and few opposition members in lesser positions.
-Rejecting the lineup of the new government, the multitude takes back the streets in revolt.
-The first of three days of mourning sees protesters gather peacefully throughout the day in Tunis. They demand the dissolution of the new government as they honor those who died in the insurrection.
-Thousands of protesters take to the streets continuing to demand the removal of all RCD members from the interim government.
-Rebels break through barricades at the prime minister’s office.
–As the third and final day of national mourning begins, protesters hold the streets, after former RCD government ministers showed no signs of resigning.
-Hundreds of Tunisians defy a nighttime curfew and travel hundreds of kilometers in what they call a ‘Liberation caravan’ to join protesters in the capital, where anger at the interim government continues to grow along side the call for permanent revolution.
-In two days of street fighting in the capital, hundreds of rebels clashed with riot police in front of government buildings.
-Clashes break out near government offices in the old city, or Kasbah, where riot police fire teargas at hundreds of demonstrators.
-The Tunisian General Labor Union holds a general strike in Sfax, Tunisia’s second city and economic centre.
-Youths armed with knives and sticks marauded through the streets of Gassrine, burning government buildings.
-After a police chief slapped a woman during a demonstration in the town of Kef, a mob of nearly a thousand then attacked the station.
-The police station in Sidi Thabet, in the Ariana (northern suburb of Tunis) governorate is attacked ”for no reason”, reported an Interior Ministry statement, ”by a group of about a hundred people”. The attackers injured a policeman, destroyed documents and damaged the building, as well as setting fire to a cops car. Intervention by an army unit caused the attackers to make their escape, though two were arrested. The police station had previously been attacked and set fire to in the first few days of the popular revolt.
-Thirty-five inmates of a Tunisian prison in Gabes escaped after assaulting their guards and making a hole in the wall.
-Refusing all political manipulations, demonstrators chanted “Ghannouchi leave” and “Shame on this government” as army helicopters circled above the crowd massed in the Kasbah government quarter, where police estimated that the number of people topped 100,000. Protesters shouted “Revolution until victory” and “We will root out repression in our land”. Insurgents burned tires and threw rocks through the windows of the interior ministry building.
– In Kasserine, rebels set public buildings on fire.
-Amidst hurled stones, Interim president steps down
– In Kasserine, young rioters hit the central police station and the National Guard first, and moved on to the government finance office and public offices burning all files. Schools, banks and small businesses were looted. An attempt to bust friends out of prison was suppressed by the military, as was the sabotage of a factory.
-On a national holiday to commemorate the police forces, a multitude of Egyptians take to the streets in large numbers, calling it a “day of rage”.
-Thousands march in downtown Cairo, heading towards the offices of the ruling National Democratic Party, as well as the foreign ministry and the state television. Similar protests are reported in other towns across the country. In Suez the ruling NDP headquarters is set on fire.
-A protester and a police officer are killed in central Cairo as anti-government demonstrators pelt security forces with rocks and firebombs for a second day.
-Police use tear gas, water cannons and batons to disperse rioters in Cairo; live ammunition is also fired into the air.
-In Suez, the scene of bloody clashes the previous day, police and protesters clash again.
-Dozens of armed Bedouins surrounded a police station in central Sinai, locking in 15 police officers and setting a car ablaze.
-Protests continue across several cities. Hundreds have been arrested, but the protesters say they will not give up. Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger services being disrupted .by the State.
-Protesters clash with police in Cairo neighborhoods. Violence also erupts in the city of Suez again, while in the northern Sinai area of Sheikh Zuweid, several hundred Bedouins and police exchange gunfire.
-In Ismailia, hundreds of protesters engage in street fighting with police.
-Country prepares for a new wave of protests after Friday prayers.
-An elite special counterterrorism force has been deployed at strategic points around Cairo in the hours before the planned protests. Egypt’s interior ministry also warns of “decisive measures”.
-Police and protesters clash throughout the country. Eleven civilians are killed in Suez and 170 injured. No deaths are reported in Cairo. At least 1,030 people get injured countrywide.
-Troops are ordered onto the streets in Cairo, Suez and Alexandria, but do not interfere in the confrontations between police and protesters.
-The riots continue throughout the night, even as Mubarak announces that he dismisses his government.
-Thousands of Egyptian insurgents stormed the main police station in the port city of Suez, overwhelming security authorities. The people freed prisoners from the city jail, destroyed armored police vehicles then sacked the building and looted its contents.
-Egyptian soldiers secure Cairo’s famed antiquities museum, protecting thousands of priceless artifacts, but not before rioters and looters smash and pillage.
-The greatest threat to the Egyptian Museum, which draws millions of tourists a year, comes from the fire engulfing the ruling party headquarters next door, set ablaze by insurgents.
-Thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir (liberation) Square stand their ground, despite troops firing into the air in a bid to disperse them.
-Mubarak appoints a vice-president for the first time during his three decades in power. The man now second-in-command is Omar Suleiman, the country’s former spy chief, who has been working closely with Mubarak during most of his reign. The revolutionaries reject this move.
-Rebels burn down Ismailia’s State Security Police headquarters, one of the main torture centers in the town.
– A group of Bedouin attack state security headquarters in the town of Rafah near Egypt’s border with Israel, killing three policemen.
– -Egyptian police shot dead 17 people trying to attack two police stations in Beni Suef governorate, south of Cairo.
-Thousands of protesters remain in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
-Some 17,000 Egyptian detainees exodus from prisons during the recent unrest, some escaping because prison guards had abandoned their posts and police vanished from the streets of Cairo and other cities. In a special prison for Palestinian POW’s, the walls are demolished and liberated prisoners returned to Gaza in a convoy of buses.
–Mubarak still refuses to step down, amid growing calls for his resignation. Protesters continue to defy the military-imposed curfew. About 250,000 people gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and thousands march through Alexandria.
-Internet access across Egypt is still sabotaged by the state.
-Opposition groups continue to call for a “million man march” and a general strike on Tuesday to commemorate one week since the protests began. Meanwhile, the military reiterates that it will not attempt to hurt protesters.
-Worldwide investors continue withdrawing significant capital from Egypt amid rising unrest.
-Number of people in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is more than a million. Thousands more take to the streets throughout Egypt, including in Alexandria and Suez.
-Violent clashes rage for much of the day around Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Up to 1,500 people are injured, some of them seriously, as the military allow thousands of pro-Mubarak reactionaries, armed with sticks and knives.
-Bursts of heavy gunfire aimed at anti-government demonstrators in Tahrir Square, leave at least five people dead and several more wounded.
-The counter-insurgents charge threw the square on horses and camel back; several are torn down from their saddles and engulfed by the mob.
-Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for what they have termed the “Day of Departure”.
-Thousands who remain inside Tahrir Square fear an approaching attempt by the military to evacuate the square.
-Unknown saboteurs attacked an Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Jordan, forcing authorities to switch off gas supply from a twin pipeline to Israel.
–Thousands are camping out in Tahrir Square, refusing to budge as Egypt’s government approve a 15 per cent raise in salaries and pensions in a bid to appease.
-Militants attacked a camp belonging to Egyptian security forces in the town of Rafah.
–Protesters continue to gather at Tahrir Square, which now resembles a commune. Protesters in the capital also gather to protest outside parliament.
–Labor unions, controlled by the state, join protesters in the street, with some of them calling for revolution, others for Mubarak to step down, while others simply call for better pay. Massive strikes start rolling throughout the country.
– Several protesters suffered gunshot wounds and one was killed when 3,000 protesters took to the streets in Wadi al-Jadid, where clashes from the previous nights carried over to the early hours.
-Amid rumors that he will be stepping down tonight, Mubarak gives a televised speech, which he says is “from the heart”. He repeats his promise to not run in the next presidential elections and to “continue to shoulder” his responsibilities in the “peaceful transition” that he says will take place in September.
-Protesters in Tahrir Square react with fury when Mubarak says he’s remaining in power until September. Protesters wave their shoes in the air, and demand the army join them in revolt.
-Unidentified assailants attacked security force barracks in the Egyptian border town of Rafah, near the border with the Gaza Strip, following president Hosni Mubarak’s speech. The attackers opened fire with guns and used rocket-propelled grenades.
-After an unprecedented number take to the streets across Egypt, the president resigns and hands power over to military.
-Earlier in the day, masses of protesters had descended on the state television building in Cairo and the presidential palace in Heliopolis, as well as in Tahrir Square.
-About 1,000 protesters attacked the police station in El-Arish in an attempt to free political prisoners held by the regime.
-People celebrate and dance all night and day and night in Tahrir Square.
-Soldiers try to remove the remaining protesters in Tahrir Square who refuse to surrender to the new military regime, and their tents are forcefully dismantled. Traffic flows through the square for the first time since the insurrection began.
-Some public sector workers and bank employees are also protesting in Alexandria and other cities.
– Most communards leave Tahrir Square in the morning, but a few thousands return later- most of them protesting against the police.
-Ambulance drivers and other workers are holding separate demonstrations.
– Roving strikes escalate and the military leadership issues “Communiqué No 5”, calling for national solidarity and criticizing strike action.
-The Egyptian army has used force to disperse activists gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand the removal of Hosni Mubarak loyalists from the interim cabinet. Demonstrators had also gathered in front of the parliament building in Cairo, where police beat protesters and used tasers to suppress the crowds.
-Several hundred protesters marched on to the state security headquarters in Alexandria. The mob had surrounded the building calling on the government to dismantle and abolish the state security service apparatus, one of the country’s most notorious security agencies. State security forces had opened fire at one point to push the crowds away. Minutes later, protesters managed to break into the state security building taking control of the ground floor.
-2500 insurgents return to state security buildings and storm the compound, overwhelming the military and poured into several buildings. The buildings where ransacked in the search for detainees and specific documents that outline the apparatus on-going counter-insurgency.