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Mohamed Bouazizi, the fruit vendor whose death may have changed the Arab world

AFP - Getty Images

A handout picture released by the Tunisian Presidency shows President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, second left, visiting patient Mohamed Bouazizi at the Ben Arous hospital near Tunis on Dec. 28. Bouazizi died in hospital on Jan. 4 and Ben Ali fled the country on Jan. 14.

Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images

Mohamed Bouazizi's cousin, Walid Bouazizi, prays on his cousin's grave in Sidi Bouzid on Jan. 20.

Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images

Basma Bouazizi, sister of Mohamed Bouazizi, poses in her home in Sidi Bouzid on Jan. 20.

Salah Habibi / AP

Protesters demonstrate beneath a poster of Mohamed Bouazizi near the prime minister's office in Tunis on Jan. 28.

It began with a minor dispute between a street vendor and a municipal inspector in the provincial Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid. Six weeks on, the repercussions continue to resonate around the Arab world.

The man who inspired the people of Tunisia to rise up against their government was Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26 year old fruit vendor who set himself on fire in protest at his treatment by the local authorities. President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali visited Bouazizi in hospital in a vain attempt to stem the criticism of his regime, as shown in the first photograph above. But within ten days of Bouazizi's death, Ben Ali was forced to flee the country.

Kareem Fahim of the New York Times wrote a detailed account of Bouazizi's life and death, and Kim Sengupta of the Independent interviewed his grieving mother. 'The government drove him to do what he did; they never gave him a chance. We are poor and they thought we had no power,' she said. 'My son is lost, but look what is happening, how many people are now getting involved.'