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Activists tussle with police in Tunis at PDL protests over price hikes

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AFP

Tunisia

A bit of a tussle on Saturday in Tunis between police authorities and around 2000 demonstrators who sought to reach the central square near parliament.

Police officers pushed back against the crowd to prevent their advancement towards their target.

The activists came out in protest of a price hike on basic goods due the to lifting of subsidies within the framework of a reform programme stipulated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The negotiation is so that Tunisia can obtain a new 4 billion USD loan — its fourth in 10 years.

Banners could be seen being held by the thousands of indignant citizens reading:

"No to the rule of the Brotherhood, the rule of ruin and destruction" and "stop the destruction of our country."

Ahmed Majri, a protester, appears frustrated with the current economic state of affairs in Tunisia. :

"We want more investments to come to Tunisia, to maintain workers, water, and education. People want work, health and a good education. These important demands have been spoiled.

"The international companies went bankrupt, they left us nothing, even the oxygen we breathe was reduced. Forests burned, the amount of water is in decline. Everything is in decline."

The demonstration -- organised by the PDL right-wing political party, was also to demand the dissolution of Parliament which is currently led by Rached Ghannouchi.

This same man is also the head of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party -- which the activists also want removed.

Abir Moussi, the President of the PDL political party made her position very clear.

"This increase in prices has to be stopped. Their (the government's) destructive programme must be exposed to Tunisians.

"Rached Ghannouchi (Speaker of Parliament) must be removed from the Presidency of the House of Representatives (Parliament), and there must be a full audit of loans and nominations, financing of suspicious organizations and associations. Support for terrorism must be stopped."

The economic crisis in Tunisia continues to worsen -- in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw unemployment rise to 18% in the last year.

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