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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat HermantheGerman's Avatar
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    Tunisia rocked by protests over price rises

    Tunisia rocked by protests over price rises

    Widespread violence flares in Tunis and other areas during protests against government’s austerity measures

    One person has died and more than 200 people have been arrested in two nights of widespread and violent protests across Tunisia, driven by anger over steep price rises resulting from austerity measures. (sound familiar )

    Police and army forces were deployed in several cities, including Tebourba, 20 miles (30km) west of the capital, Tunis, where hundreds of young people took to the streets after the funeral of a 45-year-old man who died in the unrest on Monday night.

    Police have insisted they did not kill the man, who they say had a chronic respiratory condition. The results of an autopsy have not been made public.

    Clashes erupted in more than 20 towns and cities late on Tuesday, including the southern city of Gafsa and in Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the protests that led to the ousting of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and sparked the regional Arab spring uprisings.
    Young people blocked roads and hurled stones, causing the police to retaliate with teargas, according to an AFP reporter on the ground in Sidi Bouzid. In Tunis, a crowd stormed a Carrefour market.
    The protests broke out after activists and politicians denounced increases in VAT and the introduction of social contributions at the start of the year as a tough new budget was implemented.
    A year ago, the government agreed to a four-year loan programme with the International Monetary Fund worth about $2.8bn in return for economic reforms.
    Protests have become common in Tunisia in January, the anniversary of the 2011 revolt, which was sparked by the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street seller who set himself on fire in a protest over unemployment and police harassment.
    While Tunisia is widely seen as the only democratic success story among the nations where Arab spring uprisings took place, it has since had nine governments, none of which has been able to tackle growing economic problems.
    About 50 police were wounded in clashes and 237 people were arrested on Tuesday, said an interior ministry spokesman, Khelifa Chibani. Among the arrested were two radical Islamists who had helped storm a police station in Nefza town, he said.
    Heythem Guesmi, of Manich Msamahm (I Will Not Forgive), said the activist group was calling for justice over the death in Tebourba and a return to the aims of the 2011 revolution.

    He said the new budget “has made the rich richer and the poor poorer. By increasing taxes and the cost of such basic items as flour, telephone bills and internet access, they’ve risked families’ food security. Prices have increased, but incomes have remained at the very lowest level.”
    Another activist, Wael Naouar, from the What Are We Waiting For? movement, called for the 2018 budget to be withdrawn.
    Callum Redfern, a Tunis-based British multimedia journalist who travelled to Tebourba on hearing about the person who died there, said: “My impression is that this [anger] has been building up for years. In Tunis, it’s all pretty well controlled … The further you get from Tunis the wilder it gets.”
    Chibani said “criminals” had looted and burned security centres, torched police cars and attacked government offices. “They blocked roads and carried out robberies in many cities, he said. “Obviously these are not protests but theft and damage to public and private property.”

    The prime minister, Youssef Chahed, said on Tuesday that his government respected the right to protest but recent demonstrations had descended into “acts of vandalism, looting and violence against citizens”.
    “We are in a democracy, and those who want to protest can do it during the day, not at night,” said Chahed, who heads a coalition of Islamist and secular parties.
    The demonstrations have so far been smaller than others in recent years, but the confrontations between the government, labour unions, Islamists and secular forces that led to the 2011 revolt also started on a small scale.
    Analysts say Chahed could amend some of his reforms. Pressure from unions has already led to an agreement to increase public sector salaries and avoid layoffs.
    The government plans to offer voluntary redundancies to cut the bloated civil service, but a rise in petrol prices and social security contributions are hard for people to swallow after years of hardship.

    “At the time of Ben Ali, which we did not like, I filled my stand with vegetables, fruits and other items with 10 dinars, and now 50 dinars do not fill this gap. The situation has worsened dramatically,” said Fatma, a market trader in Tunis.
    “The government is sacrificing the poor and the middle class by raising prices and ignoring tax evaders and businessmen,” she said.
    Olfa Lamloum, from the peacebuilding charity International Alert, said that with municipal elections due later this year, authorities faced a difficult choice.
    “The economic factor is central: unemployment, the cost of living and inflation, poverty, precariousness of labour – and loss of hope. The governing majority have two options: either intensify the repression ... which has a high electoral cost for them, or make concessions, which would be [unpopular] with the international donors,” Lamloum said.

    Europe is concerned about stability in Tunisia partly because unemployment there has forced many young Tunisians to go abroad. The number of boats smuggling migrants to Italy has been rising and Tunisia has also produced significant numbers of recruits for Islamic State.
    Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the entrance of a Jewish school on the tourist resort island of Djerba, in an attack blamed on assailants exploiting a reduced security presence because police were busy elsewhere. Tunisia, which is predominantly Muslim, has a Jewish minority of fewer than 1,800 people.
    Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...erity-measures

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by HermantheGerman View Post
    Tunisia rocked by protests over price rises

    Widespread violence flares in Tunis and other areas during protests against government’s austerity measures
    But surely not so critical that the new sheriff in town would need to urgently call UN SC (like in Iran case) and the POTUS had to tweet how worried is he about the welfare of Tunisian people...

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat HermantheGerman's Avatar
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    Tunisia protests: Reforms announced after days of unrest


    The Tunisian government has announced a wave of social reforms, reacting to days of demonstrations by anti-austerity protesters.
    Protests broke out ahead of Sunday's seventh anniversary of the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
    Emergency government meetings were held in response to protests, which have seen more than 800 people arrested.
    President Beji Caid Essebsi is due to visit a district of Tunis on Sunday that has been the scene of protests.
    Opposition parties have called for more demonstrations on Sunday, saying that conditions have not improved since Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was deposed as president at the start of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.
    When did the protests begin?

    Demonstrations in the North African country began on 7 January after the government announced New Year tax and price increases in its 2018 budget.
    Rallies took place in at least 10 different areas, including the capital, Tunis. They began peacefully but clashes broke out between protesters and police, resulting in hundreds of arrests over several days.
    The government accused demonstrators of setting fire to police cars and attacking officials. Some people tried to take over shopping malls and stores, while others blocked roads.
    n the town of Thala, near the Algerian border, the army was called in on Wednesday after protesters burnt down the national security offices and police were forced to retreat.
    The defence ministry said the army was protecting banks, post offices and other government buildings in Tunisia's main cities.
    Demonstrators have accused police of a violent crackdown.
    What caused the unrest?

    Demonstrators want the government to abandon the 2018 budget, which opposition groups describe as unfair. They also want to see more welfare payments for struggling families.
    The budget brought in an increase in value-added tax and social contributions along with price hikes on some goods and increased taxes on imports.

    Even before the recent spate of protests there was simmering anger that life for many Tunisians had not improved since the Arab Spring. (no shit Sherlock ! .....does this sound familiar ? I'am sure Pseudo or some Wacko will find a scapegoat)

    What are the reforms being promised?

    The announcement came after two hours of crisis talks at the presidential palace that included President Essebsi, political parties and trade unionists.
    "We discussed the general situation in the country and the reforms, especially socio-economic, that must be adopted to overcome the current problems," said Wided Bouchamaoui, head of the UTICA employers' federation.
    Officials said plans had been submitted to parliament to reform medical care, housing and increase aid to the poor.
    Social affairs minister Mohammed Trabelsi said the government proposed increasing welfare payments to those in need by 170m dinars ($70m; 50m).

    "This will affect about 250,000 families. It will help the poor and middle class," he said.
    Mr Trabelsi also alluded to plans for guaranteed medical care and housing reform, but did not give details.
    MPs will also discuss an increase in the minimum wage, reports say, although nothing has been confirmed.
    What is Tunisia's economic situation?

    Tunisia has been struggling economically since President Ben Ali was ousted after more than 20 years in power.
    That revolution was sparked by high unemployment and worries about corruption.
    However, seven years on, some of the same problems remain - not helped by terror attacks that have hit Tunisia's vital tourism industry and foreign investment opportunities.

    In December 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told Tunisia it needed to take "urgent action" and "decisive measures" to reduce its deficit. The IMF gave the country a $2.9bn (2.2bn) loan in 2015.
    What is the government reaction?

    Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has tried to calm the situation, assuring Tunisians that 2018 would be the country's last "difficult" year.
    President Essebsi accused foreign media of "amplifying" the unrest and damaging the country's image with its coverage.
    Interior ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani said on Saturday that 803 people had been arrested so far on suspicion of violence, theft and looting.
    He said 97 members of the security forces had been injured, but did not say how many protesters had been hurt.
    The UN's human rights office expressed concern on Friday over the large numbers being detained.

    Tunisia protests: Reforms announced after days of unrest - BBC News

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
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    I think this makes Herman happy- much like an outbreak of a deadly contagious disease amongst the Slavs (untermenschen) would have pleased old Adolf.

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