Notifications from the people to governments of their intolerance to their living conditions will continue to figure highly in 2018. Iranians started the year in wide protests against the Islamic government there demanding changes amid soaring consumer prices.
Today, Tunisians have joined the lengthening column of social uprisings for 2018, as Tunisians demonstrate and protest against austerity measures and rising consumer prices. More than 800 demonstrators have been arrested since January 7, when protests broke out over a raised value-added tax and social social contributions along with increases in food prices, proposed in the Tunisian 2018 budget, the BBC-News reported.
Demonstrations continue today in Tunis and in 10 other towns and cities across the nation. Incidentally, today also marks the seventh anniversary of the Arab Spring that ushered in a new government after Tunisians deposed long-time leader, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011. Tunisia had been touted as a model country for post Arab Spring nations. Yet, the government of President Beji Caid Essebsi has been unable to contain the discontent of Tunisians or to make the necessary reforms needed, included those relating to women, in order to preserve serenity.
Tunisia remains heavily indebted to the World Bank, which warned the nation last month that it needed to take "urgent action" and "decisive measures" to reduce its deficit. According to the BBC-News, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan Tunisia $2.9 billion back in 2015.
Thrown into emergency meetings to cope with the uprisings, the government is now submitting a plan to parliament to reform medicare, housing and increase aid to the poor. The BBC-News reported that Social Affairs Minister Mohammed Trabelsi confirmed that the government was proposing increases in welfare payments. "This will affect about 250,000 families. It will help the poor and middle class," the BBC-News cited the Tunisian official.
Tunisians, like Iranians, have now served notice of public discontent with governments. The people will continue to demand reforms, redress, life, liberty and happiness in 2018. Though it is only January, two nations have already served their notices. Who will follow?