Dozens dead in fuel riots
At least 36 people have been killed in two days of violent clashes between protesters and police across Norma, police and witnesses say. Armoured security vehicles have been deployed on the streets of the capital city. Deaths were also reported in a string of other towns. The unrest began after fuel subsidies were lifted leading to dramatic price rises. The government says it needs to reduce the budget deficit, but opponents say the rises hit poor people the hardest. Some eight demonstrators were killed in the coastal city of Hudd, and two others were killed in the port of Lion, police officials told the INN. In the northern city of Nihilski, at least two people were killed, reportedly members of the security forces. And there were reports that at least one person had been killed in clashes in the countryside. The next day clashes between rioters and security forces killed 13 people, including a 12-year-old child. They were killed as marchers took to the streets, attacking government buildings and throwing stones at police. Prime Minister Bajhi has appealed for calm and called on people to “differentiate between freedom of expression and freedom of destruction”. Militia are guarding official and government buildings. Norma is one the poorest colonies in the Q3, and the government is implementing harsh economic reforms to address its heavy debts. It says the rises will be offset by lower taxes and increased wages, but opposition parties say the move hits the poor, and are calling for a crackdown on corruption by officials.