Hundreds attend anti-austerity protests in Tunis amid heavy police presence

From Reuters - January 14, 2018

TUNIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of Tunisians demonstrated peacefully against government austerity measures in the capital after nearly a week of sometimes violent protests on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of the ousting of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Protests erupted last Monday in several towns and cities across Tunisia, triggered by tax and price hikes imposed on Jan 1 as the government seeks to reduce a budget deficit to meet an agreement with its international donors.

Almost 800 people have been arrested for vandalism and acts of violence, including throwing petrol bombs at police stations, according to the interior ministry.

The government late on Saturday pledged extra aid for poor families and needy people in response to the demonstrations but protesters still took to the streets, holding banners with slogans against rising prices and new taxes.

One rally took place in front of the Labor Union (UGTT) headquarters and several other protests were held along the central Habib Bourguiba Avenue, to which hundreds of riot police had been deployed.

This is what the government has done to us, said one a protesternamed Fouad. Pockets are empty by unfair decisions of the government...I am a professor and my wife is a teacher, but we are suffering today to meet what we need.


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