Tunisia protests: Government announce reforms after unrest

Tunisian security forces block access to government offices in scuffles between crowdsImage copyright

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Demonstrations have broken out across the country in recent days

The Tunisian government has announced a wave of social reforms, following days of demonstrations by anti-austerity protesters.

Protests broke out ahead of Sunday’s seventh anniversary of the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Emergency government meetings were held in response to protests, which have seen more than 800 people arrested.

Officials said plans had been submitted to parliament to reform medical care, housing in addition to also increase aid to the poor.

Demonstrations began earlier This particular month after the government announced brand-new Year tax in addition to also cost increases in its 2018 budget.

In December the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told Tunisia This particular needed to take “urgent action” to reduce its budget deficit.

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Political parties, unions in addition to also employers met on Saturday for crisis talks amid protests

Successive governments have failed to resolve national unemployment in addition to also poverty, in addition to also the country’s vital tourism industry has struggled to rebuild after terror attacks targeted foreign nationals in 2015, killing dozens.

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People have taken to the streets against the budget measures, despite Prime Minister Yousef Chahed attempting to assure Tunisians which 2018 could be the country’s last “difficult” year.

Internal ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani said on Saturday which 803 people had been arrested throughout the week on suspicion of violence, theft in addition to also looting during demonstrations.

He said 97 members of the country’s security forces had been injured from the unrest, nevertheless did not say how many protestors had been hurt.

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Media captionSome anti-austerity protests have turned violent in recent days

The United Nations human rights office expressed concern on Friday over the large numbers being detained.

nevertheless Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi accused the foreign press of “amplifying” the unrest in addition to also damaging the country’s image with its coverage.

He hosted two hours of crisis talks with political parties, powerful trade unions in addition to also employers on Saturday to try in addition to also decide on reforms to alleviate national tension.

Mohammed Trabelsi, the Minister of Social Affairs, said the government proposed increasing welfare payments to those in need by 170 million dinars ($70m; £50m).

“This particular will affect about 250,000 families,” he said. “This particular will help the poor in addition to also middle class.”

He also alluded to plans for guaranteed medical care in addition to also housing reform, nevertheless did not give further details.

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