Tunisian government says economic struggles will end amidst tax protests

Tunisia has been swept by violent protest

Hundreds of people clashed with police, blocked roads and burned tires overnight in a northern Tunisian city, with more protests expected before January 14 - the anniversary marking the removal of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country's former president.

Prices have increased for fuel and some consumer goods, while taxes on cars, phone calls, the internet, hotel accommodation and other items have also gone up.

Residents of Sakiet Sidi Youssef, near the Algerian border in the governorate of Kef, staged a protest march, blocking the Algerian border post.

"I'm not feeling a lot of hope, but we are saying no [to austerity]", said Mhamdi.

More than 770 people have been detained in almost a week of sometimes violent demonstrations. "In the first phase [of deployment], 2,000 soldiers were dispatched Tuesday evening to 123 different parts of the country". The Tunisian government allows the demonstrations to release steam, while at the same time trying to promote reforms to improve the economy.

Tunisia, whose 2011 revolt sparked the Arab Spring, has been convulsed with sometimes violent demonstrations since late Monday that have seen protesters clash with security forces and left dozens injured.

Protestors have been burning tyres
AFPProtestors have been burning tyres

The national protests started on Monday from Tunis, and then fast spread to other provinces. He said the synagogue suffered no damage.

Anger has been building up since the government said that, from January 1, it would increase the price of gasoil, some goods, and taxes on cars, phone calls, the internet, hotel accommodation and other items, part of austerity measures agreed with its foreign lenders. Hazem Chikhaoui, a 22-year-old student representative in Tunis, said the security forces were "aiming to terrorise and silence protesters through systematic violence".

Yassine Rouatbi, an entrepreneur from the small town of Kalaa-Sghira, told Al Jazeera that peaceful protests will continue until the government revises its budget. In this context, it should be noted that many Tunisians went to fight in the jihadi front in Syria and Iraq, and in fact, Tunisia is one of the leaders in the field of "exporting jihadists".

"These types of protests are completely normal only a few years after a revolution", said Rouatbi. We rely on our full staff analysts and editors to bring you best-in-class analysis.

The 2011 Arab Spring uprising and two Islamist attacks in 2015 have stymied foreign investment and tourism, which accounts for eight percent of Tunisia's economy.


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