Unrest over price hikes hits Tunisia, authorities probe death

2018-01-09 14:22
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tunis - Protests hit several parts of Tunisia where dozens of people were arrested and one man died in unclear circumstances amid anger over rising prices, authorities said Tuesday.

Several buildings were damaged during overnight scuffles with police, the interior ministry said, after activists and political parties denounced new austerity measures expected to increase the cost of living.

Authorities are to carry out an autopsy on Tuesday to determine the cause of death of the 43-year-old man in the town of Tebourba, west of Tunis, spokesmen for the interior and health ministries said.

The interior ministry denied he had been killed by police, saying the man's body showed no sign of any violence. Spokesman Khalifa Chibani said the man suffered from "respiratory problems".

Across the country, 11 officers were wounded including after being hit by stones and Molotov cocktails, while four police vehicles were damaged, National Security chief Walid Ben Hkima said.

Democracy and social demands 

He denounced "acts of violence and ransacking".

In the central impoverished city of Kasserine, dozens of youths set tyres ablaze and threw stones at members of the security forces, who retaliated with tear gas, an AFP reporter said.

In the central town of Sidi Bouzid, epicentre of the 2011 uprising that unseated dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, rocks and tyres blocked the roads, another AFP correspondent said.

On Monday, Tunisians held a peaceful protest in the town against price hikes following austerity measures including increased value-added taxes and social security contributions.

An interior ministry spokesman said at least 44 people had been arrested, including 16 in Kasserine and 18 in working-class areas near Tunis.

The unrest "had nothing to do with democracy or social demands", Khalifa Chibani told the Shems FM radio station.

A car pound in Kasserine was ransacked, he said, and buildings of the security forces damaged in the southern town of Hamma.

Lack of jobs 

Several groups called for protests in the Tunis city centre on Tuesday starting from midday (11:00 GMT).

Protests are common in the North African country in the month of January, when Tunisians mark the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that led to Ben Ali's ouster.

Tensions have been running high seven years since the uprising, including over the new austerity measures implemented on January 1.

On Sunday, Tunisian police dispersed a protest in the capital against the price hikes.

In December, unemployed protesters and activists marched through the streets of Sidi Bouzid angry over the lack of jobs and opportunities that continue to plague the central town.

On December 17, 2010, street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in Sidi Bouzid in a deadly protest over unemployment and police harassment that spiralled into Ben Ali's overthrow.

Read more on:    tunisia  |  north africa  |  tunisia protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.