One person killed during protests in Tunisia

Peter Castro
January 13, 2018

People protest against the government's decision to raise the prices of fuel and other products for daily use in Tunis, capital of Tunisia, on January 9, 2018.

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed sought to calm anti-austerity protesters on Tuesday with promises of an end to economic hardship, a day after one demonstrator was killed in clashes with police on the previous day.

In an update to its travel advice for the country, the FCO said there had been protests in several towns and cities across Tunisia, with some reports of violence. "Yesterday protesters burned down two police stations".

Elsewhere, protesters have blocked main roads with boulders and burning tires.

In Siliana, youths threw stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces.

The protest organizers from both union organizations and civil society called for the continuation of the demonstrations. They carried banners with slogans denouncing rising prices and the lack of jobs.

The demonstrations have so far been much smaller than others in recent years.

In both countries, elements of the old regimes managed to reconsolidate power in the interests of the native ruling elites and worldwide capital.

The annual inflation rate had already risen to 6.4 percent in December. Europe is concerned about stability in Tunisia partly because unemployment there has forced many young Tunisians to go overseas.

"This government, like every government after Ben Ali, only gives promises and has done nothing".

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Imen Mhamdi, a 27-year-old university graduate who is employed as a factory worker, joined protests in the coastal city of Sousse this week. "I'm not feeling a lot of hope, but we are saying no", she said.

Since Ben Ali's ouster, Tunisia has been grappling with political instability and militant attacks that have driven away investors and tourists.

But the authorities have failed to resolve the issues of poverty and unemployment.

"Today we have a meeting with the opposition parties to coordinate our movements, but we will stay on the street and we will increase the pace of the protests until the unjust financial law will be dropped", Hammami told reporters. "So people are also anxious about the orientation of society".

The country has been hailed for its relatively smooth democratic transition but seven years after the revolution tensions over economic grievances are high.

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

The authorities respected the right to protest but acts of vandalism were being brought under control, the government said in a statement.

Protests were also reported in Gafsa and Tebourba, a town of fewer than 30,000 people, west of the capital, Tunis.

This policy, along with the cooperation of the Islamic Ennahdha [Renaissance] Party, a partner in the coalition, has made Tunisia the only success story of the "Arab Spring", and it appears that despite the difficulties it will continue to show stability despite the internal protest. One protester apparently died of tear gas inhalation. Police responded with tear gas, an AFP correspondent said.

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