A man is dead after a protest against Tunisian government austerity measures turned violent.
The protest in Teboruba, 40km west of the capital Tunis, escalated when security forces attempted to stop some youths from setting fire to a government building, witnesses said. Reuters reported the state news agency, TAP, saying that five people were wounded and taken to a hospital.
Demonstrations expanded to at least 10 towns with security forces and protesters clashing in Fernaneh, Bouhajla, Ouslatia, Moulouche, Sabitla, Gtar and Kef, according to Reuters.
The 2018 Financial Act passed by the Tunisian parliament, which includes an increase of the value-added tax by 2 to 300 percent, has generated a rise in consumer prices.
According to one study cited by security company, Garda, Tunisians will have to spend an extra TND 300 (USD 120) per month to cover the rise in prices, almost as much as the national monthly minimum wage (TND 357.136) for those working 48 hours per week.
The government’s austerity program tries to meet the austerity targets set by the International Monetary Fund as the country plunges deeper into recession amid a mounting trade deficit.