Travel warning after anti-austerity protests in Tunisia

Travel warning after anti-austerity protests in Tunisia

Operators’ plans to return to Tunisia for the first time since the Sousse beach terror attack in summer 2015 have been overshadowed by new outbreaks of violence.

A third successive night of protests against anti-austerity measures across the north African country prompted police to use tear gas against large crowds.

The demonstrations are reported to have taken place in at least ten different areas in the last few days, including the capital of Tunis.

Protests started peacefully last week but escalated on Monday evening. The unrest led to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issuing a travel alert for Tunisia yesterday.

In updated travel advise, the FCO said: “Protests in several towns and cities across Tunisia continue, with some reports of violence.

“Further demonstrations are planned for the coming days, including in Tunis on 12 and 13 January 2018.

“You should avoid protests and follow the instructions of the local authorities.”

The protests come after the government announced an increase in value-added tax and social contributions in Tunisia’s 2018 budget.

The new financial year has also brought with it price hikes on some goods and increased taxes on imports.

The latest outbreaks come just days after Tui confirmed the re-introduction of Tunisia holidays from the UK to Hammamet in May.

Tui has not offered a Tunisia programme since a terrorist gunman opened fire on tourists at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the resort of Sousse in 2015, killing 30 British holidaymakers, all of whom were Tui customers.

The FCO subsequently advised against all travel to Tunisia, halting UK tour operator programmes.

The ban was lifted last July and a number of operators, including Tui rival Thomas Cook, announced programmes for winter 2018, starting in February.

However, a state of emergency which has been in effect in Tunisia since a suicide attack on a police bus in autumn 2015, was extended for a further three months in November.

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