Rene Alaniz

"Riots in Tunisia and Morocco force government concessions"

Africa Report, March-April, pg.38

Main Point

The article argues that the bread riots that occured in Tunisia and Morocco were not just due to inreases in the price of grain, but stem from other factors. Problems such as high unemployment and drought ridden areas have added fuel to the growing unrest of both countries. Religious fundamentalists also add to dilema by stating that government policies are not that of Islam.


Tunisia’s problem is that it had not increased the price of bread significantly for two decades. Price of bread had been kept artificially low by the use of 20% of GDP on food subsidies. Despite warning from economic advisers the government went ahead and took the food subsidies and used it towards industrialization. This change gave way to a week of rioting in which President Bourguiba had to do away with the price increases. These riots also sparked more tension between the government and opposition parties such as the fundamentalist group the Islamic Movement. Morocco unlike Tunisia started at the hands of students who protested against tuition hikes. These protests led the rest of the population to protest against the increasing prices instituted by the IMF. King Hassan made a speech which calmed down the Moroccan protesters.


In conclusion the unrest that took place in Morocco and Tunisia has led to the formation of new organizations. These new groups are able to mobilize great numbers of the populace in order to resist government policies. The success these groups have on government policies pose a huge dilema to both countries.