Following persistent widespread protests in Tunisia in recent days and the impending general strike tomorrow, Tunisian President Ben Ali held a speech on the state television chanel Tunisie7 this evening with a long list of highly unusual concessions. Among other points he announced that he will not seek presidency for life, a lowering of the prices of basic foodstuffs, that police and soldiers will stop using live ammunition, and that media and internet censorship will be halted.
Since this speech there have been multiple independent reports that previously blocked internet sites such as YouTube or the OpenNet Initiative are now accessible without receiving the typical ‘404 messages. Nevertheless further tests are required to ascertain whether the Tunisian regime follows through on Ben Ali's statements.
Of course, these ‘promises’ do little to change the massive human rights violations that have taken place recently in Tunisia. Rather they are are a sign of the massive pressure the regime is currently under.
Several news organizations have started to pick up on the story: