Tunisia government announces raft of reforms after protests

The Tunisian government has announced a raft of social reforms following days of protests against its recent austerity measures.

Major cities in the North African country earlier this week were hit by protests as hundreds marched to express their displeasure with rising commodity costs and a hike in tax.

The protests were conducted ahead of today’s seventh anniversary of the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The demonstrations which saw more than 800 people arrested, prompted emergency government meetings.

BBC reports officials to say that plans had been submitted to parliament to reform medical care, housing and increase aid to the poor.

Tunisia’s tax and price increases took effect on January 1.

Interior ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani on Saturday said that 803 people had been arrested throughout the week on suspicion of violence, theft and looting during the demonstrations.

He said 97 members of the country’s security forces had been injured in the unrest, but did not say how many protestors had been hurt.

The United Nations human rights office expressed concern on Friday over the large numbers being detained.