Tunisian police disperse protests against price hikes, unemployment

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebs during a recent press conference. Prices have been risen in the country as part of austerity measures agreed with foreign lenders. (AFP)
Updated 08 January 2018
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Tunisian police disperse protests against price hikes, unemployment

TUNIS: Tunisian police on Monday fired tear gas and clashed with hundreds of people protesting against unemployment, high prices and new taxes in two towns, according to reports.
The North African country raised from Jan. 1 the price of gasoil and some goods as well taxes on cars, phone calls, the Internet, hotel accommodation and other items, part of austerity measures agreed with its foreign lenders.
The economy has been in crisis since a 2011 uprising unseated the old regime and two major militant attacks in 2015 hit the tourism sector, which comprises eight percent of GDP and is a key source of foreign revenues.
Police fired tear gas in the central city of Thala to disperse hundreds demanding more development and jobs while protesting against high inflation.
The protesters burned wheels and threw stones at the police, Mohamed Hedi Omria, a resident, told Reuters. Clashes were also reported from Kasserine, another central town where hundreds protested against price increases.
In the capital Tunis, security forces dispersed small protests late on Sunday against rising prices and taxes.
On Monday, about 300 people took to the streets in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid carrying banners aloft with slogans denouncing high prices.


Iran sentences 3 rights lawyers to prison

Updated 53 sec ago
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Iran sentences 3 rights lawyers to prison

  • The two were arrested in August when they took part in a protest outside parliament calling for free elections
  • The Hamshari daily meanwhile reported that a court in the central city of Arak sentenced another lawyer to 13 years in prison

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran has sentenced two human rights lawyers to six years in prison and a third to 13 years, newspapers reported Tuesday.
The Arman daily said Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi and Arash Keikhosravi were sentenced to five years in prison for taking part in an “illegal gathering” and one year for “propaganda” against the ruling system. It says they can appeal the verdict.
The two were arrested in August when they took part in a protest outside parliament calling for free elections. They were released on bail last week.
Sholeh-Saadi, 64, a longtime critic of the political establishment, was barred from running for president in 2017.
Iran holds regular presidential and parliamentary elections, but a council of clerics vets candidates. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final word on all major policies.
The Hamshari daily meanwhile reported that a court in the central city of Arak sentenced another lawyer to 13 years in prison.
It said Mohammad Najafi was sentenced to 10 years for “conveying information to a hostile country” through interviews with foreign media, two years for insulting the supreme leader and one year for publicity in support of opposition groups.
Najafi was jailed in January when he voiced support for people detained that month during anti-government protests. The demonstrations, which focused on economic grievances, lasted for days and resulted in the deaths of dozens and the arrest of hundreds more.