Just over a year ago, a fruit vendor in Tunisia named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on in response to the harassment and corruption he endured from municipal employees in his country. Protests erupted in the town of Sidi Bouzid within hours and became more violent over the next two weeks. Bouazizi died from his injuries on Jan. 4, 2011, but the protests continued to intensify to the point that President Ben Ali was forced to flee the country on Jan. 14 after 23 years in power.
The Tunisian people’s successful ousting of their president inspired neighboring countries to follow suit, setting the stage for what has since become known as the Arab Spring. On Jan. 25, an uprising in Cairo started the Egyptian revolution. In a country where approximately half the people are under the age of 25 and about a third of the population has mobile phones, word of the protests spread fast. Egyptians from various walks of life participated in the movement that prompted President Hosni Mubarak to resign on Feb. 11, ending his 29-year regime.
The Libyan revolution started just a few days later, beginning with protests in Benghazi on Feb. 15. Protesters began to rebel throughout the country leading to violent clashes with Gaddafi’s supporters. Muammar Gaddafi was eventually killed in Sirte on Oct. 20.
Photojournalist Giorgos Moutafis captured the events of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Here, women protest in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, in February.