Tunisia plans to increase support for the poor after protests: government source

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2018

The organization said he died after a police vehicle 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.

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

While Tunisia is held up by some as the only democratic success story among countries swept up in the Arab Spring, it has had nine governments since Ben Ali's overthrow, none of which have been able to resolve deep-rooted economic problems.

December 8, 2017: Tunisia's parliament approves Article 39 of a fiscal law calling for an increase in the country's value-added tax.

The protests began against the background of rising prices, and increasing taxes on what the government made of the need to reduce a significant budget deficit.

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".

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

January 4, 2018: The Ennahda movement, another coalition partner, criticizes the protest calls, saying they are meant to "sow chaos".

Defendants proved their involvement in looting and arson across several provinces amid national demonstrations protesting price hikes, said Chibani in a statement.

Protesters took to the street to demand a revision of the 2018 finance bill as well as a better social coverage for needy families and a tangible plan to fight corruption.

Calm returned to the country on Thursday night and there was "no attack against public or private property" in the night of Friday to Saturday, Chibani said.

The army deploys over 2,000 soldiers to secure vital state institutions. The government believes that the protests provoked by criminal elements, and the opposition is fueling the people's anger.

The Interior Ministry said that the 43-year old male was not killed due to police violence, but an autopsy would be carried out to determine the cause of death.

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