Monday , January 22 2018

1 killed in Tunisia protests over price rise, tax hike

TUNIS / Reuters

One person was killed during clashes between security forces and protesters in a Tunisian town, the government said, as demonstrations over rising prices and tax increases spread in the North African country. A man was killed during a protest against government austerity measures in Tebourba, 40 km (25 miles) west of Tunis, the interior ministry said in a statement. He had had chronic breathing problems and died due to suffocation from inhaling tear gas, it said.
The protest had turned violent when security forces tried stopping some youths from burning down a government building, witnesses said. Five people were wounded and taken to a hospital, state news agency TAP said.
Anger has been building up since the government said that, from Jan. 1, it would increase the price of gasoil, some goods, and taxes on cars, phone calls, the internet, hotel accommodation and other items, part of austerity measures agreed with its foreign lenders. The 2018 budget also raises customs taxes on some products imported from abroad, such as cosmetics, and some agricultural products.
The economy has been in crisis since a 2011 uprising unseated the government and two major militant attacks in 2015 damaged tourism, which comprises 8 percent of GDP.

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