200 people arrested in Tunisia clashes, army deployed

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More than 200 people have been arrested, and dozens of police hurt, during clashes between security forces and protesters in Tunisia as anger over price hikes spilt over into unrest, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported on Thursday.

The army has been deployed around banks, post offices and other government buildings in the country’s main cities, the defence ministry said.

Growing frustration with the government’s 2018’s budget cuts, which involve severe austerity measures to counter the North African country’s ballooning deficit as outlined by the International Monetary Fund, spilled into more violent protests on Tuesday and Wednesday resulting in the injury of 49 police officers.

There have been no figures given for the number of protesters injured in the clashes. One protester was killed on Monday after inhaling tear gas and subsequently suffering severe breathing problems.

During the clashes property was damaged including a branch of the Carrefour supermarket chain in the suburbs of Tunis that was looted. Rioting youths threw stones at shop windows before breaking in and looting electrical appliances.

A brief period of calm returned on Wednesday before demonstrators again took to the streets of Tebourba, a town west of the capital Tunis, where the death of the protester occurred, in the evening.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed condemned the acts of “vandalism” that “serve the interests of corrupt networks to weaken the state”, pointing the finger at a leftist party that called for protests.