World News

200 arrested, dozens hurt in fresh Tunisia unrest

200 arrested, dozens hurt in fresh Tunisia unrest

Tunisian security forces have restored calm across the national territory starting from last night, interior ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said Friday morning. Dozens of government buildings were set alight and at least one protester was killed, prompting the government to dispatch the army to several cities and towns.

Almost 800 Tunisians have now been arrested following clashes which broke out as a result of mass demonstrations against government austerity measures.

Unrest was also reported in the southern city of Gafsa, in Kasserine in central Tunisia and in Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the protests that sparked the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

More than 200 people were arrested and dozens hurt during clashes in several parts of Tunisia, the interior ministry said Wednesday, after a second night of unrest driven by anger over austerity measures.

Tunisia's main opposition Popular Front had called for demonstrations through the week.

Almost a week of sometimes violent protests across the country followed the announcement of austerity measures in this year's budget, which took effect on January 1. Fire bombs were thrown at two Jewish schools on the island of Djerba, damaging the exteriors but not the insides. They had no religious affiliation and had tried to "create chaos", it added.

The government has blamed the opposition bloc and protesters accusing them of causing unrest and violence.

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The government, however, has vowed to stick to its budget.

The authorities respected the right to protest but acts of vandalism were being brought under control, the government said in a statement.

Tunisia hiked prices for fuel and some consumer goods, while taxes on items such as cars, phone calls, internet and hotel accommodation have also increased.

Tunisia appears to have little scope to back away from austerity.

Tunisians have started to express frustration over austerity measures expected to further increase prices in a struggling economy.

"We've got the same demands we've been seeking for years - to tackle real problems like the economic crisis and the high cost of living", she told AFP.


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