Tunisia's fragile democracy shaken by revolt of the young


Austerity measures imposed in Tunisia at the start of the year in a new public finance law, and which follow a multi-billion-dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund, sparked demonstrations across the country earlier this month that were marked by violence. The protests were mostly mounted by the younger population, particularly affected by rising living costs and unemployment. The unrest has rocked the government, whose authoritarian reaction has prompted some observers to draw parallels with the events that led to the downfall in 2011 of Tunisia’s former dictator, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Lilia Blaise reports from the capital Tunis.

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Ahmed Sassi is a 32-year-old Tunisian who teaches philosophy. He is a member of an association representing unemployed graduates, and has been active in opposing recent budgetary reforms in Tunisia that introduced deepening austerity measures in the country, although his friends describe him as having no particular political allegiance.