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Thousands of Beninese in Cotonou stormed the streets on Friday to protest against economic reforms and high cost of living.

Authorities have been facing growing social discontent particularly in the public sector, hit by several strikes.

Employees denounce President Talon’s privatization schemes and budget cuts that have a direct impact on social life.

“They have decided to sell our wildlife, privatize our health, make the university inaccessible to the poor, and do you think we will accept that?” Moudachirou Bachabi, Secretary General of a major trade union, CGTB-Benin said.

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“Now is the time for action, we must act quickly, act urgently in the face of authorities who have decided to sell everything in the country,” another trade union leader Noël Chadare said.

Patrice Talon has engaged the country in the path of reforms to try to cope with the slowdown in the economy, a consequence of the recession in neighboring Nigeria. This liberal orientation has provoked strong criticisms from the opposition.

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