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Tunisia: Anti-austerity protests prompt aid package for poor

A multi-million euro package was announced as the country marks the seventh anniversary of its revolution

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Tunisia: Anti-austerity protests prompt aid package for poor

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There is something to celebrate in Tunisia - on the seventh anniversary of its revolution.

The governement has responded to anti-austerity protests - some of them violent - by announcing a multi-million euro action plan to help those most in need.

Minister of Social Affairs Mohamed Trabelsi said that the increased support will benefit some 250,000 families, and help the poor and middle class.

The minister will be hoping the move will calm public anger at price and tax increases in a country still plagued by deep-rooted economic problems.

Hundreds have been arrested for vandalism and violence in the protests.

But despite pledging a guaranteed minimum income for families living in poverty, authorities can expect more demonstrations on Sunday's anniversary, including calls for an official list of those killed and wounded in the 2011 revolution which sparked the Arab Spring.

Tunisia has been hailed as the only democratic success of the Arab Spring: the one Arab country to topple a long-serving leader in that year's uprisings without triggering widespread violence or civil war.

Tunisian politicians were awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for achieving non-violent change.

But Tunisia has had nine governments since the overthrow of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, none of which have been able to get the economy back on its feet.

The situation has worsened since a vital tourism sector was nearly wiped out by a wave of deadly militant attacks in 2015, and has yet to recover despite improved security.

with Reuters