Scattered protests over economic hardships have broken out as
Tunisia's new prime minister takes office to lead a caretaker
administration to end a crisis three years after its uprising ousted
Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Tunisia's 2011 revolt and the region-wide Arab Spring uprisings were
triggered by a street vendor in Sidi Bouzid setting himself alight
in an act of protest.
After months of crisis, the Islamist party which came to power after
the revolt resigned this week to make way for Prime Minister Mehdi
Jomaa's technocrat government until elections this year to complete
Tunisia's democratic transition.
Many Tunisians are more worried about the high cost of living, jobs
and economic development. Protesters have taken to the streets this
week in southern cities to protest against fiscal reforms including
a vehicle tax hike.
Tunisia's state news agency TAP said one man was shot and killed
when police clashed with protesters trying to ransack a customs
office near the southern city of Kasserine.
"Assailants attacked the border point of Bouchebka with Molotov
cocktails and hunting rifles to steal its takings, and one customs
officer was gravely injured," the interior ministry spokesman told
Protesters also clashed with police in the upscale La Marsa area of
the capital Tunis when they tried to storm a police station, TAP
said. In the impoverished Ettadamon district, protesters attacked
two bank branches and a government treasury office on Friday night,
a Reuters journalist said.
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Strikes and protests started in the southern and central towns of
Kasserine, Thala and Gafsa last Tuesday and spilled over into Tunis,
after calls from transport and agricultural unions against the
The 2014 budget sets out new taxes to help the government increase
public finances — a demand from international lenders which want the
government to reduce the country's budget deficit and control public
(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; writing by Patrick Markey;
by Louise Ireland)
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