We arrived at the Tunis Carthage International airport on Saturday moments before the curfew set in. The Tunisian police have been enforcing a tough curfew at nightfall to try to prevent militias from looting shops and government buildings.
Our luggage was late so we decided to leave it behind and make our way to our hotel in the city center. On our way out of the airport, we saw the first signs of the tension that is being felt everywhere. A big tank was parked at the airport entrance and armed Army men were standing by.
The streets were mostly deserted and, at every interchange, Army forces stood guard. I noticed about 40 men gathered next to a new building all holding wood sticks and looking very anxious. Our driver Ahmed confirmed that some civilians have decided to work together to guard their assets from looters.
The armed militias are made up from about 2,000 ex-Presidential guardsmen who are still angry with the protests that unfolded here last week. The Tunisian people, upset with joblessness and flagrant corruption, ousted the ruling President for the past 23 years, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
These angry militia groups operate only at night, seeking to discredit the people's revolution by causing havoc.
Now the police and the army are on the hunt for these men. At night while trying to sleep, I could hear choppers on patrol for any signs of people disobeying the curfew.
This morning, after returning from getting our baggage at the airport, we were stopped by the military. At gun point, we were ordered to sit on the floor, hands by our sides. It was evident these soldiers were very tense. They shouted and made clear they didn't want to hear from us. After 10 minutes that felt like an hour, an army officer showed up, checked our passports and let us go.
Despite the nation's tense climate, people I spoke with are delighted at this new era of change. They say corruption was so pevasive that it was impossible to live a normal life.
As we traveled through the city, we took a look at what was left at the house of a relative of the ousted president. The lavish villa overlooking the ocean had been looted and set ablaze. What remains has turned into a living monument to the corrupt way of life that the rich enjoyed, drawing nearby residents to sift through the debris.
General elections are set to take place in 60 days amid much uncertainty over the nation's future. Tunisians seeking real change are waiting to see what happens.