Tunisia opposition says to step up protests until 2018 budget dropped

13 January, 2018, 00:42 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • 'You Can't Survive Anymore': Tunisia Protests Rising Prices and Taxes

Seven years on, and nine governments later, some of those same problems remain - not helped by a number of terrorist attacks which have damaged Tunisia's tourism industry and foreign investment opportunities.

Protests are common in Tunisia in January, when people mark the anniversary of the revolution that ousted long-time dictator Ben Ali.

Similar demonstrations past year led to the months of cessation of Toil production and caused a high loss in oil revenues.

Tunisia has been praised for its democratic transition following the 2011 revolution that ousted authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East.

Demonstrators clashed with security forces in different parts in Tunisia over recent austerity measures taken by the government.

Clashes erupted elsewhere in the capital and other towns, with protesters blocking roads and throwing stones at police, who responded with rubber bullets, according to Mosaique FM radio.

"There's no work and no future here", he told AFP.

"We had hoped that our lives would become better, that we get jobs and housing, but everything has turned for the worse", said Bashir Hussein, one of the disgruntled graduates.

Tunisia appears to have little scope to back away from austerity.


Longer-term factors include high levels of poverty and youth unemployment, particularly among graduates.

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".

The Tunisian daily Le Temps published an extremely anxious article on the protest movement expressing the mood within the privileged layers of Tunisian society as somewhere between "a state of paranoia and general panic".

Police have clashed with protestors and fires have been seen in the streets, in the one of the country's worst upheavals since the Arab Spring in 2011.

The Tunisian government, a coalition of Islamist, secularist and independent factions, have accused criminal and opposition elements of being behind the protests.

The air in Tebourba was still thick with traces of tear gas on Tuesday.

The protests draw on anger over price and tax increases included in this year's budget that took effect on 1 January.

Leila Ghrairi, 51, a civil servant who came to support the protesters in Tunis, said she was not anxious about another Arab Spring.

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