"Online activists have attacked and at least momentarily disabled several Tunisian government websites in the latest act of protest against the country's embattled leadership.
"As of Monday afternoon, local time, at least eight websites had been affected, including those for the president, prime minister, ministry of industry, ministry of foreign affairs, and the stock exchange.
"The attack, which began on Sunday night, coincided with a national strike, planned to take place on Monday, that organisers said would be the biggest popular event of its size since Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed the presidency.
"The strike comes on the day that school students return from their holiday.
"Ben Ali's administration has tightly restricted the flow of information out of Tunisia since widespread protests began on December 17, following 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi's suicide attempt. But reports of civil disobedience and police action filtered out on Twitter on Monday, with some users reporting the use of tear gas by security forces.
"The loosely organised hacker group Anonymous claimed responsibility for the cyber attack, which it called 'Operation Tunisia', an apparent arm of the group's broader effort - termed 'Operation Payback' - aimed at taking retribution against governments and businesses viewed as hostile to the similarly amorphous document-leaking group WikiLeaks...
"But on Monday, Anonymous and its followers sought to tie their cyber attack to the ongoing protests and social unrest in Tunisia, not WikiLeaks. In a manifesto reportedly posted on the prime minister's website but later removed, the group said that it was 'enraged' at the Tunisian government's behaviour, and that Ben Ali's administration had 'unilaterally declared war on free speech, democracy, and even [its] own people'."
(Crossposted to American Footprints)