Dozens of protesters, mainly belonging to the “Fech Nestannew” campaign (“What are we waiting for” in Arabic), demonstrated against increased consumer in prices on Bourguiba Avenue in the capital Tunis on Sunday, January 7. The demonstration, though peaceful, was dispersed by police forces. Several demonstrators were reportedly arrested for leafleting and graffiti; however, the Ministry of the Interior has not confirmed this information.
Further associated demonstrations are to be expected throughout the country in the coming days.
The 2018 Financial Act, which includes an increase of the value-added tax (VAT) by 2 to 300 percent depending on the product, has generated a general rise in consumer prices. According to one study, 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 minimum wage (TND 357.136).
The legislation was the subject of much debate in the political realm and within society. Many economists warned against its potential negative effects, including a shift to the informal market and decreased consumption that could impact Tunisia’s economic growth.
Individuals in Tunisia are advised to stay informed of the situation and to avoid all protests.