New Demonstrations in Tunisia as it Marks 7th Anniversary of Arab Spring Uprising

Hundreds of people took the streets of Tunisia’s capital for a new demonstration Sunday, and in one district police fired tear gas to disperse dozens of stone-throwing youths on the seventh anniversary of the ousting of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Fueled by rising frustrations with the country’s social and economic issues, protesters have been demonstrating, at times violently, in Tunis and across the North African country this past week.

A witness told Reuters they saw youths around 20 years old throwing stones at police cars and setting fire to tires before security forces drove them back with tear gas.

“Work, Freedom and Dignity,” the slogan chanted seven years ago has been invoked again.

“The revolution brought nothing concrete to our daily lives, which only get worse and worse,” said Fatma Ben Hassine. “The politicians, whose only concern is their comfort, leave us in despair.”

On Saturday, Tunisia announced plans to increase aid for poor families by $70.3 million, after days of protests over austerity measures.

“This will concern about 250,000 families,” Mohamed Trabelsi, minister of social affairs, said. “It will help the poor and middle class.”

Several hundred protestors took to the streets Saturday in Sidi Bouzid, where the 2011 uprising first began. And on Friday, protesters in cities and towns across the country waved yellow cards � a warning sign to the government � and brandished loaves of bread, a symbol of the day-to-day struggle to afford basic goods.

Anger has been growing since price hikes were introduced by the government earlier this month.

Since Monday, security forces have been deployed in Tunis and across the country. Several hundred people have been arrested, including opposition politicians, while dozens have been injured in clashes with police. A 55-year-old man died earlier this week, though the circumstances of his death remain unclear.

The demonstrations have gained momentum as anger grows over government tax hikes on top of already soaring inflation.

Source: Voice of America