Frustration, humiliation—then desperation. Mohamed Bouazizi was trying to support his family as a street vendor when Tunisian police confiscated his vegetable cart and produce. They claimed he lacked a permit. When Bouazizi complained, he reportedly was slapped and humiliated by a female municipal official. In protest, on December 17, 2010, he burned himself to death in an act of self-immolation that sparked a wave of protests—leading to the toppling of Tunisia's 26-year-old Ben Ali regime.