Hundreds protest in Tunisia against poverty, high prices

Hundreds protest in Tunisia against poverty, high prices
Hundreds protested against poverty, high prices and food shortages in Tunisia amid the country's economic and political crisis.
2 min read
26 September, 2022
Protesters chanted 'jobs, freedom and national dignity' [Getty]

Hundreds of Tunisians protested on Sunday night in a poor neighbourhood in the capital against poverty, high prices and the shortage of some foodstuff, escalating pressure on the government of President Kais Saied, as the country suffers an economic and political crisis.

Tunisia is struggling to revive its public finances as discontent grows over inflation running at nearly 9% and a shortage of many food items in stores because the country cannot afford to pay for some imports.

The North African nation is also in the midst of a severe political crisis since Saied seized control of the executive power last year and dissolved parliament in a move his opponents called a coup.

In the poor Douar Hicher district in the capital, some protesters lifted loaves of bread in the air. Other chanted, "Where is Kais Saied?". Angry youths burned wheels.

Protesters chanted "Jobs, freedom and national dignity," and "We can't support crazy price hikes", "Where is sugar?".

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Food shortages are worsening in Tunisia with empty shelves in supermarkets and bakeries, adding to popular discontent at high prices of many Tunisians who spend hours searching for sugar, milk, butter, cooking oil and rice.

Videos on social media showed on Sunday dozens of customers scrambling to win a kilogram of sugar in market.

Tunisia, which is suffering its worst financial crisis, is seeking to secure an International Monetary Fund loan to save public finances from collapse.

The government raised this month the price of cooking gas cylinders by 14% for the first time in 12 years. It also raised fuel prices for the fourth time this year as part of a plan to reduce energy subsidies, a policy change sought by the IMF.