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

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.

Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

Updated 16 min 53 sec ago

Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

  • Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said the UN is trying to politicize a natural death
  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the death of Morsi

CAIRO: Egypt accused the United Nations on Wednesday of seeking to “politicize” the death of the country’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi by calling for an “independent inquiry.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said he condemned “in the strongest terms” the call by the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, for an independent investigation into Morsi’s death during a court hearing on Monday.

Hafez said it was a “deliberate attempt to politicize a case of natural death.”

Colville called Tuesday for a probe into whether the conditions Morsi faced during his nearly six years in custody had contributed to his death.

“Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death,” he said.

“Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr. Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family,” Colville added.

He said the investigation must “encompass all aspects of the authorities’ treatment of Mr. Morsi to examine whether the conditions of his detention had an impact on his death.”

Morsi was toppled by then army chief, now President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in 2013 after a single divisive year in power. He was later charged with an array of offenses including espionage.

Since his ouster, authorities have waged an ongoing crackdown on dissent of all kinds that has seen thousands of Brotherhood supporters jailed and hundreds facing death sentences.

A group of British parliamentarians in March 2018 warned Morsi’s detention conditions, particularly inadequate treatment for his diabetes and liver disease, could trigger “premature death.”