"Reporting of these events has been sparse, to say the least. The Tunisian press, of course, is strictly controlled and international news organisations have shown little interest: the "not many dead" syndrome, perhaps. But in the context of Tunisia they are momentous events. It's a police state, after all, where riots and demonstrations don't normally happen – and certainly not simultaneously in towns and cities up and down the country.
So, what we are seeing, firstly, is the failure of a system constructed by the regime over many years to prevent people from organising, communicating and agitating. Secondly, we are seeing relatively large numbers of people casting off their fear of the regime. Despite the very real risk of arrest and torture, they are refusing to be intimidated. Finally, we are seeing the breakdown of a long-standing devil's compact where, in return for submitting to life under a dictatorship, people's economic and welfare needs are supposedly taken care of by the state." (thanks Anindya)