News ID: 208077
Published: 0549 GMT January 14, 2018

Tunisians continue anti-austerity protests on revolution anniversary

Tunisians continue anti-austerity protests on revolution anniversary

Tunisians have taken to the streets to keep up a wave of anti-austerity protests as the small North African country celebrates its seventh year of ushering in democracy following the fall of long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Hundreds protested in the capital Tunis on Sunday while demonstrations were held for a successive sixth day in other cities and towns.

Hundreds of riot police were deployed along the central Habib Bourguiba Avenue and also in front of the Labor Union (UGTT) headquarters where protesters marched with banners reading slogans against rising prices and new taxes.

The protests come against a series of new measures imposed by the government to raise tax and prices as it struggles to cope with a budget deficit that could undermine its efforts to obtain loans from international creditors.

Some protests over the past week turned violent as police reported around 800 arrests. The Interior Ministry said the detained included vandals who threw petrol bombs at police stations.

 

The government issued a statement on Saturday pledging to increase its support for poor families and needy people. However, many in smaller towns continue to attend rallies that they say could win them their economic rights some seven years after the fall of Ben Ali.

“We have only won the freedom of expression after 2011 revolution ... but we will remain in the streets until we win our economic rights just as we have our freedom”, said a protester who identified himself as a university professor.

 

Tunisia witnessed deep political changes following the 2011 revolution, something that many Arab countries that imitated the uprising from Tunisia have yet to embrace. However, deep-rooted economic problems still persists in Tunisia mainly due to successive change of governments and also as a result of major militant attacks on tourist sites in 2015.

   
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