Tunis: Tunisia, formed seven years ago as a result of the Arab Spring protests, is once again reeling with anti-government agitations. The demonstrations which broke out because of the taxes and expenditure cut back policies imposed by the government, leading to lower wage costs and inflation, have taken a violent turn in the last two days. The death of one of the agitators on Monday has been decided as the cause of the destruction of government buildings and burning of police stations and police cars by the enraged protesters. After the action taken by the police in reply caused the demonstration to get more violent, this caused the army to be deployed in important cities.
In the year 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit merchant from Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia had immolated himself. After this immolation, the anti-government agitation was started. The agitation had forced Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the dictator for 24 years, to step down from power. Even after the departure of Ben Ali from power, the instability continues in Tunisia and 9 governments have fallen in all of the past seven years. Currently, liberal party ‘Nida Tunis’ and Islamic ‘Ennahda’ party along with ‘UPL’ and ‘Afek Tounes’ parties are having a coalition government.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had lent 3 billion Dollars to Tunisia in the year 2015. They had put the conditions of economic improvement against this loan. In line with these conditions, the Tunisian government has taken the steps like cut in the administrative expenditure, increase in taxes, deferment of pay rise etc. The 2018 budget has made these provisions and the implementation has started for the 1st of January.
The government policies have resulted in price rise and there is a rise in public discontent. This discontent sparked in the form of processions in certain parts including the capital Tunis in the last week. An agitator lost his life during the protests, in the city of ‘Tebourba’ near capital Tunis. The police claimed that the cause of death was breathing trouble. But they refused to make the postmortem report public.
The displeased local community took an aggressive stand during the funeral of the agitator. The aggression had its reflections in other parts of the country and protests have started in more than 20 cities. It became clear that the police were unable to control the protestors even with tear gas and batons. 50 policemen were injured in the violence by the protesters.
As the protesters were not being controlled by the police, the government has deployed army in many cities including Tunis and additional security has been deployed around the government buildings and establishments. Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has warned of stern action against the protesters and alleged that the opposition is instigating the protesters. The military and the local security mechanisms have detained more than 300 protesters, it is said.