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TUNISIA: Brother of man whose death sparked uprisings cheers Mubarak's ouster; crowds chant outside Egyptian Embassy

February 11, 2011 | 10:09 am

Tunis Guests poured into the house of Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian vegetable seller whose suicide set off a chain reaction across the Arab world, to congratulate his family on Friday on the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Reuters reported.

Bouazizi set himself on fire in December after police confiscated his goods and scales. His desperate act launched a wave of protests that toppled Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January.

Shortly after Mubarak's resignation was announced Friday, an emotional Salem Bouazizi, Mohamed's brother, spoke with Reuters by telephone from the town of Sidi Bouzid.

"If Arabs truly appreciate Mohamed Bouazizi then they should always be free and reject dictatorships. I'm so proud that the Arab revolution started right here, from this house in Sidi Bouzid. We are extremely happy that Mubarak has left. Hundreds of people are visiting us to congratulate us," he said.

"I congratulate all Egyptians and I'm happy that they too will have their freedom after we too clinched ours. My brother Mohamed attempted suicide on a Friday, Dec. 17, Ben Ali fled on a Friday in January, and Mubarak quit on a Friday in February: three unforgettable months," he said.

In the capital of Tunis, about 3,000 people gathered near the Egyptian Embassy, carrying Palestinian, Egyptian and Tunisian flags and chanting: "One, two, three, viva democracy."

--  Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, sits next to her husband at her home in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, about 165 miles south of Tunis, on Sunday. Mohamed Bouazizi, 26, set himself on fire on Dec. 17 in Sidi Bouzid in protest after police confiscated his vegetable cart. His self-immolation ignited protests that led to the downfall of the government and ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Credit: Louafi Larbi/Reuters