2011 : A year in news
The Middle East uprisings
After Mohamed Bouazizi, a young Tunisian man, burned himself to death at the end of 2010, a series of uprisings were triggered across the Middle East, dramatically altering the region’s political make-up.
Bouazizi was protesting against corruption and ill-treatment. His desperate action sparked massive civil unrest as previously untapped anger among the general population rose to the surface.
The uprising in Tunisia soon spread to other countries in the Middle East as anti-Government protesters sought to overthrow undemocratic political regimes, triggering violent scenes across the region as police battled with pro-democracy rebels.
Known as the Arab Spring, the rebellions have successfully overturned governments in three countries - Libya, Tunisia and Egypt – and left many other countries in a state of political flux that looks set to continue into 2012.
Earlier this year, British troops participated in military operations to protect civilians in Libya. The country’s longstanding leader, Colonel Gaddafi, was captured and killed by rebels in October, enabling British servicemen to return home.
Image: Crowds celebrate the fall of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya © Rex