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Tunisian govt hopes that days of meals protests are subsiding

14 January 2018

Although no concrete decisions were announced, Noureddine Taboubi, the secretary general of UGTT, said measures "must be adopted" to aid needy families and boost social care in the North African state. "It will help the poor and middle class".

The trigger of the protests on January 7 was the budget imposing tax hikes after a year of rising prices. The International Monetary Funds says Tunisia is committed to "decisive action" to reform its economy before the IMF reviews the payment of its next loan tranche.

But Tunisia has had nine governments since Ben Ali's overthrow, none of which have been able to resolve deep-rooted economic problems. Tunisian authorities say the number of people detained in the wave of violent protests to sweep the country since Monday has risen to almost 800. The event triggered demonstrations across the country, which eventually spread to others in the Arab world.

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Protesters are primarily taking issue with a new finance act in the country, which had led to increases in the value-added tax and consumer prices.

One protester died in unclear circumstances in Tebourba, a town 40 kilometers west of the capital Tunis.

January 8, 2018: As commodity prices rise further, demonstrations are held in several parts of the country to protest steadily mounting costs of living.

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The clashes have caused damage in 11 provinces to municipal depots, police stations, private businesses, commercial spaces and banks. "Today we have a meeting with the opposition parties to coordinate our movements, but we will stay on the street and we will increase the pace of the protests until the unjust financial law will be dropped", Hammami said.

The violence has prompted fears of instability in, a country that is widely regarded as the only democratic success story from the uprisings. The economy worsened since a vital tourism sector was almost wiped out by a wave of deadly militant attacks in 2015, and has yet to recover despite improved security.

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".

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Tunisian govt hopes that days of meals protests are subsiding