Tunisia: 778 arrested for protesting against austerity measures

Tunisian security forces stand amid tear gas during clashes with protesters in the town of Tebourba

He went on say they were linked to "irresponsible political parties, including the Popular Front."The Popular Front has called for peaceful protests to overturn the Finance Act.Tunisians shout slogans during an anti-austerity demonstration in Tunis on Tuesday.A new anti-austerity youth movement - named Fech Nestannow, which translates as "What are we waiting for?" - has called for nationwide protests Friday, including a large one in Tunis".

A third night of unrest in several cities and towns saw the arrests of 328 people on Wednesday alone, as protesters blocked roads and threw Molotov cocktails at police.

European governments warned their citizens about potential rioting Friday and this weekend, when Tunisia marks seven years since the ouster of longtime strongman President Zine Ben Abidine Ben Ali.

Twenty-one members of the security forces were injured, ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said.

The protests draw on anger over price and tax increases included in this year's budget that took effect on January 1. At least one person has been killed in the protests. The UN said it was concerned about the number of arrests during the protests.

The government has blamed the opposition and "troublemakers" for stoking unrest, a charge the opposition has denied.

Tunisia: 778 arrested for protesting against austerity measures
Tunisia: 778 arrested for protesting against austerity measures

Since the government announced that it would increase the price of gas, oil, cars, phone and internet services, as well as hotel accommodation and other items in the 2018 budget, many protests erupted across the country last week.

Almost 800 Tunisians have now been arrested following clashes which broke out as a result of mass demonstrations against government austerity measures.

The violence has prompted fears of instability in Tunisia, a country that is widely regarded as the only democratic success story from the Arab Spring uprisings.

But Tunisia has had nine governments since Ben Ali's overthrow, none of which have been able to resolve deep-rooted economic problems.

But Tunisia's economy has fallen stagnant partly due to its sluggish tourism sector.

Last year, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund agreed a four-year loan programme worth about $2.8 billion with Tunisia, tied to economic reforms.


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