TUNIS, Tunisia (CNN) -- Are jackboots already trampling the "Jasmine Revolution"?
It happened with breathtaking speed. Within a matter of weeks, Tunisia went from being a beacon of authoritarian, pro-Western stability to a country in open, nationwide revolt. A largely leaderless, spontaneous popular movement drove the head of state from power.
At the moment it's not clear whether that movement will result in real change, or just a change at the top.
Shortly after Friday's massive demonstrations in Tunis, which reached a crescendo outside the hated Ministry of the Interior on Avenue Mohamed V, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country, taking refuge in Saudi Arabia.
The army and security forces are trying to impose order in Tunis. Tanks and armored personnel carriers have been deployed on one of the capital's main thoroughfares, Avenue 7 Novembre (named after the date when Ben Ali assumed presidential powers in 1987). At midday Saturday I watched as two truckloads of soldiers pulled up on the avenue and began stringing out barbed wire.\
A dusk-to-dawn curfew is being ruthlessly enforced. Just how ruthlessly I saw from my hotel window. At midnight I watched as plain-clothed policemen beat with batons and kicked a young man to the ground.
All the while be screamed, "Have mercy on me!"