Tunisia protests: Hundreds arrested

12 Enero, 2018, 03:31 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Tunisia protests: Hundreds arrested

Tunisian protesters burned down a regional national security headquarters near the Algerian border, prompting authorities to send in troops after police retreated, witnesses said, as unrest over prices and taxes continued nationwide.

The protest happened in Tebourba, some 40 km (25 miles) from Tunis.

Interior ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said on Wednesday that 206 "troublemakers" were arrested overnight, while 49 police officers had been wounded in clashes across the country, Agence France-Presse reported.

Violent anti-government protests have raged in other towns in the North African country since Monday, among them the tourist resort of Sousse, against price and tax rises imposed by government to cut a ballooning deficit and satisfy worldwide lenders.

Tunisia has seen several days of protests after activists and politicians denounced hikes in value-added tax and social contributions introduced at the start of the year as a tough new budget was implemented.

But Prime Minister Chahed says this will be the last bad year for Tunisians.

Tunisian police arrested 237 people, including two Islamists, for attacking police stations and government buildings and for vandalism in anti-government protests in several parts of the country, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

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During the clashes property was damaged including a branch of the Carrefour supermarket chain in the suburbs of Tunis that was looted. The police intervened, firing tear gas.

In Sidi Bouzid, the hometown of the Arab Spring, and in Meknassy, a neighboring city, young jobless people have been marching to protest the high cost of living and the lack of jobs.

A Jewish school on the island of Djerba was also petrol bombed. Hamma Hammami, the leader of the Popular Front opposition party, called on the opposition groups to continue coordination of the protest and promised "to stay in the streets and to increase the intensity of the demonstrations until the retraction of this budget".

"These people have no connection with the protest movements or the cause advocated by protesters namely the rise in prices of certain consumer products in the new finance law for 2018", commented Chibani.

Picture: A protester is detained by Tunisian security forces. But nine successive governments have failed to get a grip on the economic situation.

Six years since the 2011 uprising that overthrew Ben Ali, the former president, Tunisia has been held up as a model by avoiding the violence that affected other nations after their Arab Spring revolts.

Tunisia's current government reached an agreement late last year with the International Monetary Fund for a four-year loan programme, worth about $2.8bn, in return for economic reforms.

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