Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Tunisia plans to increase support for poor families

Tunisia: minister, calm restored across country Anti-Austerity Protests Simmer in Tunisia
Melinda Barton | 14 January, 2018, 13:14

The Tunisian government on Saturday announced a social reforms package aimed at improving care for the needy and increasing access to health care following a wave of anti-austerity protests.

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.

Checks by the United Nations has revealed that no less than 770 protesters have been arrested by Tunisian authorities after almost a week of demonstrations over plans to raise tax and basic goods.

According to Chibani, 97 police officers have been injured and 88 police vehicles damaged since protests broke out, TAP reported.

"Thirty-one and half per cent of those arrested are between the ages of 15 and 20, 54.9 per cent between the ages 20 and 30 and 11.7 per cent are between 31 and 40". Several police stations have been set on fire.

President Beji Caid Essebsi will on Sunday visit the protest-hit poor district of Ettadhamen in the capital Tunis, make a speech and open a cultural centre, an official said.

Incidents of vandalism dropped sharply on Thursday night, Chibani said. The government has vowed not to back down on the austerity measures, taken to satisfy foreign lenders.

"This will concern about 250,000 families", Trabelsi said.

"The authorities must ensure that those exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are not prevented from doing so", Rupert Colville, spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Colville also urged those taking to the streets to exercise restraint and remain calm. The International Monetary Funds says Tunisia is committed to "decisive action" to reform its economy before the IMF reviews the payment of its next loan tranche. The anti-austerity youth movement is named Fech Nestannow, which translates as "What are we waiting for?"

While Tunisia is widely seen as the only democratic success story among "Arab Spring" nations, it has also had nine governments since the overthrow of authoritarian leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, none of which have been able to deal with growing economic problems.