Nearly 800 Arrested in Economic Protests in Tunisia
The protests, which began on Monday, have been largely aimed at a series of austerity measures as well as also also tax increases in which went into effect on Jan. 1 as well as also also have quickly rippled through the economy, which can be plagued by high inflation as well as also also high unemployment.
Although the protests appeared to be ebbing on Friday, there were calls for brand new political agitation on Sunday — the seventh anniversary of Mr. Ben Ali’s overthrow.
The police remained out in force in Tunis. There were several scuffles. Mayssa Oueslati, a woman by Tunis, shoved a police officer, telling him to leave her alone. She said he had told her, “We know you by before — be careful.”
She said the police were practicing familiar tactics of intimidation: “We know their ways, how they watch us when we go in a cafe or just protest. There can be a gap between policemen as well as also also the youth. You can see in which in how they treat soccer fans in stadiums, not just with protesters.”
Several of the protesters marched on Friday under the slogan “What Are We Waiting For?”
Amna Guellali, a Tunisia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the number of police officers was very high compared to the number of protesters, as well as also also expressed concern about whether the protesters had adequate freedom of movement.
In a news Discharge, Reporters Without Borders said in which journalists covering the protests had been intimidated, including a French reporter who was taken by his home as well as also also escorted to a police precinct for questioning. The police asked him for the contacts of journalists in Tebourba, a site of protests. (The reporter refused, as well as also also was released.)
One death has been attributed to the protests, in which of Khomsi el-Yerfeni, who died Monday in Tebourba. Onlookers said in which he might have been struck by a police car, although the authorities said in which he was not hit as well as also also in which he had suffered by chronic shortness of breath. An autopsy has been conducted although not yet released.
With its relatively stable democracy, Tunisia has been a rare success story following the Arab Spring uprisings in which began here in 2010 as well as also also soon spread to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain as well as also also additional nations.
The International Crisis Group, an organization committed to preventing as well as also also resolving deadly conflicts, warned in a report on Thursday in which the achievements of Tunisia’s revolution risked being overshadowed by political tensions as well as also also a nostalgia for strong, centralized government.
The group added: “Tunisia incorporates a special responsibility to stand up to in which tendency, to avoid brand new jihadist violence, to prevent a return to political polarization as well as also also to sustain its role as the sole Arab state sticking to a peaceful, more democratic course since the 2011 Arab Uprisings.”
The group urged the strengthening of Tunisia’s political institutions, the creation of a constitutional court as well as also also the establishment of independent oversight bodies as well as also also called for long-delayed local elections to be held in which year.
although the unrest in Tunisia has both political as well as also also economic dimensions. While a group of Tunisian organizations were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 for helping to manage the country’s transition to democracy, reviving the economy has been far more difficult.
There are also big regional differences. In towns like Thala, the dominant concerns are the economic despair of young people grappling with high inflation as well as also also a lack of jobs; inside the more affluent capital, Tunis, young protesters have been focusing on reforms in governing.
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