Even the leader of the free world isn't immune to Internet trolls in the age of the global Occupy movement, as evidenced by tens of thousands of comments lambasting President Barack Obama on his official Facebook page beginning Sunday and continuing through Tuesday morning.
Acting under the Tunisia: Occupy the World banner, a group of purported Tunisian residents, emboldened by their country's sparking of the Arab Spring in December 2010, are drawing harsh comparisons between the American government's handling of Occupy protesters and the Tunisian government's handling of that country's own uprising earlier this year.
The group's members have taken to Obama's Facebook wall in force, leaving tens of thousands of comments - many of which use black humor to paint Obama as a brutal oppressor - on his posts.
The messages are couched in support of the Occupy movement and against the sometimes-violent tactics American police have taken when dealing with protesters, and their words are often accompanied by dramatic images including juxtaposed photos of similarly brutal police takedowns on American streets and the squares of Tunis. Many of them also criticize Obama's foreign policy.
A comment by Facebook user Youseff Zied Elhechmi was representative of the tenor of the posts.
Tunisia is the first country to recognize the American Transitional National Council ;) he wrote in a comment on an official Obama post Monday.
The comments are flooding in despite remarks Obama made in support of the Tunisian people last month during a meeting in Washington with the country's current prime minister, Beji Caid Essebsi, who was a key player in the Tunisian revolution.
The U.S. has an enormous stake in seeing success in Tunisia, Obama told Essebsi during their meeting, USA Today reported. The American people will stand by Tunisia in any way that we can.
During the two leaders' sit-down at the White House, Obama also detailed $39 million America has dedicated to assisting Tunisia, as well as new economic measures the U.S. government is taking to help ensure the transition to the new regime in Tunisia continues to go smoothly.
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced out of office earlier this year after 24 years in power as a result of sustained protests initiated after 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on Dec. 17, 2010, in a protest against punitive actions taken against him by a corrupt local official.
The Tunisian uprising came as the country's citizenry contended that issues such as economic inequality, high unemployment, corruption, and other woes had reached a tipping point, much as the Occupy protesters say has occurred in America in recent years.
These comments are caused by a campaign organized by Tunisian Web surfers to make laugh of Obama! It comes after some photos of police brutality against the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement spread throw [sic] the network yesterday, Facebooker Akram Moussa posted on Obama's page. The Tunisian web surfers - who are known by their sense of humor - reacted as if Obama is a dictator, and as if he is facing a revolution from the whole American people.
The group has also taken to spamming French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Facebook page in the past couple of days, and in the past Internet trolls have targeted Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other heads of state.