The bigger picture is nearly all of North Africa is facing something of a domino effect right now, including food riots in Tunisia's neighbor Algeria, and crackdowns in Algeria's neighbor, Morocco.
There's also the possibility that WikiLeaks releasing cables showing the State Department's brutally frank assessment of the corruption of the now crumbling Ben Ali regime may have contributed to the unrest.
North Africa is in real trouble at this point, and if problems spread eastward into Libya, Egypt, and Jordan then things could get very nasty indeed. Keep an eye on the region.
Cairo, Egypt, today:
Thousands of protesters spilled into the streets of Cairo on Tuesday, an unprecedented display of anti-government rage inspired in part by the tumult in the nearby North African nation of Tunisia.
Throngs in the sprawling city marched from the huge Tahrir Square in Cairo toward the parliament building, according to CNN reporters on the scene.
Demonstrators threw rocks at police and police hurled rocks back. Tear-gas canisters were shot at demonstrators and the protesters threw them back.
Protest organizers said they hope to capture the regional momentum for political change set by Tunisians, who 10 days ago forced the collapse of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule.
The grievances were foreshadowed after several Egyptians set themselves or attempted to set themselves on fire earlier this month, mirroring the self-immolation of a Tunisian man whose action spurred the uprising there.
The Tunisian uprising was the most successful revolt in the region since 1979, but it is anybody's guess whether uprisings will spread to other Arabic-speaking lands.
Don't say you weren't warned.