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Vol 59 No 2

Published 26th January 2018


Tunis fiddles as revolt grows

While politicians focus on electoral alliances, the economy remains stuck and marginalised communities are angry

After taking office amid high hopes that technocratic ministers could deliver results, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's increasingly beleaguered government is confronted by yet another mass movement, with protests in Tatouine and other southern towns spreading to the rest of the country. On 8 January, demonstrations against price rises and tax increases in the 2018 budget flared into violence and government buildings were burned down. Chahed ordered in the troops – never a popular option in Tunisia, which prides itself on its small 'apolitical' military. By 14 January, the Ministry of Interior said 803 people had been detained. Towns like Siliana, Sidi Bouzid, Gafsa and Douz were still in ferment as demonstrations moved to Tunis. The threat of revolution hung in the air as Chahed announced another wave of reforms and his Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi raised welfare payments.

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