Tunisian democracy a model for the Mediterranean, says Italy

Rome, Jan 22 (IANS/AKI) The Italian government on Monday urged the European Union to back democracy in Tunisia, calling it a "model" for the Mediterranean region.

"The EU should ensure support for the young democracy of Tunisia, which is a model in the Mediterranean," tweeted Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who is currently attending a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels.

Tunisia has been hit by a wave of protests this month and rallies have taken place in at least 10 different areas after the government raised value-added tax and social contributions, and increased some prices on goods in its 2018 budget.

Over 800 people have been held during the unrest since January 7, the Interior Ministry said last week. Demonstrators accused police of a violent crackdown.

Tunisia has struggled economically since Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was deposed as president in 2011 at the start of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings and protesters argue conditions have not improved since.

--IANS/AKI

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