TUNISIA: Paris to have either a Rue or Place Mohammad Bouazizi
Against a backdrop of French Cabinet ministers under fire for accepting gifts from Arab autocrats, one Paris politician is offering a gesture of appreciation for the Tunisian man whose Dec. 17 death by self-immolation sparked political uprisings in the Middle East and northern Africa.
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe declared Wednesday that "there will be shortly a Mohamed Bouazizi square or street in Paris, in tribute to the Tunisian revolution," according to the official Tunis Afrique Presse news agency.
The decision was made Tuesday after a unanimous vote by Paris' City Council to name a square or street in Paris after the produce vendor who set himself on fire after police closed down his stand. He died of his injuries Jan. 4.
The City Council's "vote was the expression of admiration, affection and support to the Tunisian people whose accomplishment was something extraordinary, not only for Tunisia itself and the Arab world, but also for the entire world," Delanoe told the news agency by phone.
"I know very well the Tunisian people and their youths who, with pride, maturity and no violence, wanted to change their country's future," he said.
France, home to an estimated 600,000 Tunisians, has a complicated relationship with Tunisia, a former colony that remains a tourist destination, business market and integral part of the Francophonic world.
-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut
Photos: Mohammad Bouazizi and the Eiffel Tower of Paris. Credit: TAP