Tunisian teachers, activists and political parties have joined to celebrate five years since protesters drove out their autocratic president and ushered in a democratic era.

The crowd at Thursday's rally included families of those killed in weeks of protests against President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who fled on Jan. 14, 2011. His departure sparked Arab Spring uprisings across the region against repressive rulers that have led to civil war and uncertainty.

Tunisia so far has been a success story, building a new democratic political system.

The atmosphere was festive but security was high Thursday on Avenue Bourguiba, a center of the protest movement five years ago. Marchers lamented persistent unemployment, which is pushing some young Tunisians to flee for Europe — and some to turn to extremism.