Tunisia Anti-Austerity Protests 2018
Protests in Tunisia preempt the seven-year anniversary of the ouster of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. On January 7, demonstrators led by the civil movement "Fech Nestannew" (What are we waiting for?) took to the streets of Tunis and cities throughout the country to protest a finance law which went into effect at the beginning of the year. The new austerity budget, the result of a 2016 deal between the Tunisian government and the IMF, raises taxes and prices on fuel and consumer goods, drawing the ire of citizens who have experienced declining currency value and persistent youth unemployment rates since the 2011 revolution. Days of protests followed the January 7 demonstrations, with some coinciding with the revolution anniversary celebrations. Nearly 800 have been arrested for acts of violence and vandalism in a crackdown by riot police. In response to public outcry, Tunisia’s government has promised reforms, including reforms to housing and medical care, increased aid to the poor, and increased welfare benefits. Fech Nestannew organizers vow to continue their movement until the government revokes the austerity measures.