Tunisia: Number of Detained During Ongoing Protests Rises to almost 800

Pauline Gross
January 13, 2018

At least 49 police officers were also injured during clashes with demonstrators, the spokesman added.

He had previously acknowledged that the country was facing extraordinary and hard times, and promised to end economic hardship.

On Monday, one person was killed following violence in Tebourba.

Interior ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said 151 people were arrested Thursday, taking the number detained for alleged involvement in the violence to 778 after several nights of unrest.

Tunisian protesters stand near tear gas smoke fired by security forces in the Ettadhamen on the outskirts of Tunis late Wednesday, after price hikes ignited protests in the North African country.

More than 770 people have been detained in almost a week of sometimes violent demonstrations. It is thought the attackers were taking advantage of police attention being elsewhere.

In a number of areas, the army has been called out to back up local security forces and protect government buildings and banks. They also want to see better welfare for Tunisia's struggling families.

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Tunisians have become increasingly frustrated since the government said it would increase the price of gasoil, some goods, and taxes on cars, phone calls, the internet, hotel accommodation and other items from January 1, as part of austerity measures agreed upon with its foreign lenders.

"If they do not answer these demands, we will call for the scrapping of parliament".

"The Tunisian government needs to understand that Tunisian society is fed up".

Protests are expected to continue through January 14, the anniversary marking the removal of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country's former president. The protests, especially in the southern regions, are mainly against high unemployment rates and rising fuel prices.

Tunisia saw a 90 percent drop in British tourism after the terror attack on Sousse in 2015, which left 30 United Kingdom holidaymakers dead. Tunisia is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to speed up policy changes and help the economy recover from the attacks.

The country's trade deficit reached a record $5.8bn in the first 11 months of 2017, while its currency - the dinar - weakened to more than three units per euro for the first time ever on Monday, Reuters reported.

Hama Hamami, leader of the leftist alliance, said, calling on Chahed to hold a television or radio debate in which Tunisians would be "witnesses to government choices and discuss the suffering of poor social groups".

Other reports by GizPress

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