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In pictures: The Arab Spring uprisings of 2011

Anti-government protests first broke out in Tunisia, before inspiring similar movements across the Middle East and bringing down leaders in Egypt and Libya.

A Liben rebel fighter fires towards Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte, Libya on 19 October.
A Liben rebel fighter fires towards Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte, Libya on 19 October.
Image: AP Photo/Manu Brado/PA Images

THIS YEAR SAW a spate of uprisings across the Middle East dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’ which toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

In January, Tunisia’s president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali stepped down after a wave of violent protests sparked by the fatal self-immolation of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010. Bouazizi was protesting his mistreatment by local officials.

The Tunisian movement inspired similar protests in Egypt, where protesters pushing for political reforms forced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power, and Libya, leading to the ousting and killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in October.

The Arab Spring movement also saw protests in Morocco, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Check out some of the most powerful images from the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011:

In pictures: The Arab Spring uprisings of 2011
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  • Yemen

    Yemeni anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen in early May. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    A demonstrator protesting against Egypt's military rule throws a tear gas cannister during clashes with riot police near Tahrir Square in Cairo on 21 November, 2011. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    Pro-government demonstrators, some riding camels and horses and armed with sticks, clash with anti-government demonstrators in Tahrir Square in early February. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis/PA Images)
  • Bahrain

    Anti-government protesters react to tear gas fired by riot police during clashes on 17 December, 2011. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    Egyptian riot police throw stones during clashes with protesters near the interior ministry in downtown Cairo in November. Police battled an estimated 5,000 protesters in and around central Cairo's Tahrir Square, birthplace of the 18-day uprising that toppled authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak in February. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra/PA Images)
  • Bahrain

    Anti-government protesters link hands to form a barrier between fellow protesters and riot police on 17 December in Abu Saiba village. Shortly after, police used tear gas and sound bombs to disperse thousands who had gathered in the third straight day of clashes. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali/PA Images)
  • Bahrain

    Anti-government protesters wave Bahraini flags along with those of Arab spring countries Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt, while calling for the fall of the Bahraini government, freedom for prisoners and democracy in the Gulf island kingdom in November 2011. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali/PA Images)
  • Syria

    The empty chair of the Syrian delegate is seen at the Arab League foreign ministers' meeting in Rabat, Morocco on 16 November, 2011. Foreign ministers from the 22-member Arab League later formalised their weekend decision to suspend Syria's membership for refusing to end its bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar/PA Images)
  • Syria

    Pro-Syrian regime protesters, hold up portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad with Arabic words: "The lion of resistance and the rejectionism" during a demonstration against the Arab League decision to suspend Syria in front the Syrian embassy, in Beirut, Lebanon, on 13 November, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla/PA Images)
  • Syria

    Syrian anti-Assad protesters are reflected on a masked protester's sunglasses during a protest in front of the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on 12 November, 2011. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    A protester overcome with tear gas kneels in the middle of the street during clashes with the Egyptian riot police on 20 November, 2011. Protesters demanded that the ruling military quickly announce a date to hand over power to an elected government. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill/PA Images)
  • Yemen

    A protester with writing Arabic on his chest that reads, "whether he signed or not, he must go to hell," celebrates Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's signing of a document agreeing to step down after a long-running uprising to oust him from 33 years in power in Sanaa, Yemen on 23 November, 2011. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed/PA Images)
  • Libya

    June 2011: Rebel fighters fire a rocket at the front line west of Misrata, Libya. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar/PA Images)
  • Libya

    In this photo taken on a government-organised media tour, a Libyan woman fires in the air during a graduation ceremony after a weapons training course in Tripoli, Libya, on 26 June. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said Libyan officials gave out 1.2 million weapons and were training people all around territories under Gaddafi's control as "a challenge for rebels". (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev/PA Images)
  • Libya

    A rebel fighter flashes the victory signs as he guides reporters inside a building used by snipers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during fighting with rebels for the control of Tripoli Street in Misrata, Libya, June 2011. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar/PA Images)
  • Yemen

    Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman, one of the three recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, reacts as she receives congratulations from protesters at her tent in Change Square in Sanaa, Yemen on 8 October, 2011. Karman's Nobel Peace Prize draws attention to the role of women in the Arab Spring uprisings; they have rebelled not only against dictators but against a traditional, conservative mindset that fears women as agents of change. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed/PA Images)
  • Morocco

    Protesters argue with Moroccan police officers as they break up a demonstration organised by the 20th February, the Moroccan Arab Spring movement in Casablanca, Morocco on 29 May, 2011. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    A man tries to calm down an Egyptian army captain atop an armored personnel carrier who fired live rounds into the air to disperse anti-government demonstrators in Cairo on 2 February. Several thousand supporters of President Hosni Mubarak clashed with anti-government protesters as Egypt's upheaval took a dangerous new turn. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    Anti-government protestors hold candles as they walk around an Egyptian Army tank at Tahrir Square, Cairo just days before Mubarak's resignation in February. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti/PA Images)
  • Syria

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, foreground right, waves to his supporters in Damascus, Syria on 30 March, 2011. Syria's president has blamed the wave of protests against his authoritarian rule on 'conspirators' - but he failed to offer any concessions to appease the extraordinary wave of dissent. (AP Photo/SANA/PA Images)
  • Bahrain

    A Bahraini youth stands among the shoes and sandals discarded at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, by people during fierce clashes with police in mid-March. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali/PA Images)
  • Libya

    Muammar Gaddafi sits in a car in Tripoli, Libya, in April 2011. After months in hiding, Gaddafi was found and killed by rebel fighters in October. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito/PA Images)
  • Libya

    Men from Bangladesh, who used to work in Libya and fled the unrest in the country, wait to be called during their repatriation process as they try to leave for their country from a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, on 14 March, 2011. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti/PA Images)
  • Tunisia

    Manoubiyeh Bouazizi, the mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the local fruit vendor who set himself on fire in December 2010, stands next to his picture at the family home in the town of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, on 8 March, 2011. (AP Photo/Giorgos Moutafis/PA Images)
  • Tunisia

    Workers prepare the assembly room where Tunisia's new constituent assembly, elected in the first elections of the Arab Spring, will convene for its first meeting at the end of November. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    Egyptian women angered by the violence used against them in clashes between army soldiers and protesters in December carry a poster with a picture of a woman that assaulted by soldiers during a rally that at Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt on 20 December, 2011. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser/PA Images)
  • Morocco

    A burning car during a demonstration in Marrakech, Morocco in one of a string of nationwide protests calling for constitutional reform on 20 February, 2011. (AP Photo/Tarik Najmaoui/PA Images)
  • Egypt

    Egyptians celebrate after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military at Tahrir Square on 11 February. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra/PA Images)
  • Egypt

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