Scores Arrested In Tunisia Protests

Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed, before ebbing on Thursday.

December 9, 2017: Parliament approves a 2018 budget that includes tax increases on telecommunication services, cosmetic products and fuel. The organization said he died after a police auto ran him over twice but Tunisia's Ministry of Interior said that he had suffocated to death from tear gas because he had a chronic respiratory condition.

Tunisian authorities arrested another 150 people including local opposition leaders over unrest against price and tax rises that prompted troop deployments to restive towns, and activists called for renewed rallies at the weekend.

Around two hundred protestors marched through the streets of the Tunisian capital to demonstrate against austerity measures introduced by the government at the beginning of the year.

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.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khelifa Chibani said 44 protesters were arrested for carrying weapons such as knives, setting government buildings on fire and robbing stores.

Over 800 people have been arrested during the unrest, according to the interior ministry.

Protests are common in Tunisia during January when many mark the anniversary of the 2011 toppling of the longtime autocratic leader, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

The clashes have caused damage in 11 provinces to municipal depots, police stations, private businesses, commercial spaces and banks.

In line with demands articulated by the International Monetary Fund, the government last October announced its planned 2018 budget, which included several unpopular austerity measures, including tax hikes.

Tunisia is considered the only success story of democracy in the Arab world, however, after the flight of Ben Ali in 2011 in the North African country has had seven governments, none of which failed to improve the economy.

December 16, 2017: The Afaq Tunis Party, a partner in the country's governing coalition, announces its decision to withdraw from the government, saying the budget approved by parliament "lacks the social and economic vision to meet the needs of the people".

Vanessa Coleman

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