Protests Erupt in Tunisia as Conditions Continue to Deteriorate
About 5,000 people took to the streets of Sidi Bouzid, a city in central Tunisia, on April 29 to protest against deteriorating conditions in the country that led to the deaths of 12 rural workers in a car accident. The protests were also fueled by the country’s high cost of living, high unemployment rate and decline in state services since the overthrow of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali during the Tunisian Revolution in 2011. Since Ali’s ouster, the economy has not improved and unemployment is at 15 percent, up from 12% in 2010. Critics of the government also say the public sector is rife with corruption. In March, Tunisian Health Minister Abdel-Raouf El-Sherif resigned after 11 babies mysteriously died at a hospital in Tunis. Tunisia’s public healthcare system was once considered one of the best in North Africa but is now fraught with management and financial problems, as well as drug shortages.