Darth Vader And His Pals Give This Country Reason To Celebrate

by
Reuters
May 07, 2014: Fans and local residents march through the streets of Tunis, which saw the dawn of the 2011 Arab Spring, to celebrate the first International Star Wars Fans Association meeting.

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Star Wars fans from all around the world flocked to the Tunisian capital, Tunis, to celebrate the first International Star Wars Fans Association meeting.

Fans, dressed as characters from George Lucas's fictional universe, filled the streets of the country that served as the backdrop of five out of six Star Wars movies.

But for some fans, it was more amazing that these streets saw the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011.

"The crazy moment you realize you are on the street of the 14 January 2011, you're wearing a Star Wars costume and they're playing the Imperial March. It's just so totally crazy," Julia, a German citizen and Star Wars fan told Reuters.

The event, organized in part by the Tunisian tourism office, was among efforts to reinvigorate the country's tourism industry that has suffered after the revolution.

And for local residents it was a welcome distraction.

"It's nice to have some events like this downtown. We've had enough violence and strikes. Such events for young Tunisians are really appreciated,” said Sarah Chebbi, one of the locals.

The country hopes to get an extra boost from popular culture now that the next episodes in the Star Wars franchise, to be directed by director JJ Abrams, are set to start production next month.

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A view of the Star Wars movie set is seen at Ong Jmal, in Nefta – Reuters

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Tourists look at a Tunisian man selling traditional souvenirs – Reuters

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A man sells souvenirs at the Star Wars movie set – Reuters

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People dressed up as characters from the Star Wars movies take part in a parade during a tourism event – Reuters

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People dressed up as the Emperor's Royal Guard from the Star Wars movies smile after taking off their masks during a tourism event at Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis – Reuters

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People dressed up as Darth Vader (C) and the Emperor's Royal Guard (in red) from the Star Wars movies take part in a parade – Reuters

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A child with a toy lightsaber plays with a man dressed up as a stormtrooper from the Star Wars movies – Reuters

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A man dressed up as Boba Fett from the Star Wars movies takes part in a parade – Reuters