Tunisian army on the streets after days of major protests against austerity


Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed, before ebbing on Thursday.

The army was deployed to the streets of several cities and towns after protesters set fire to dozens of state buildings this week.

Activists in Tunisia have called for a major demonstration against the government's decision to increase taxes and the prices of basic goods, after hundreds of people were arrested in previous days of protests.

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Tunisian police have arrested 328 people after four nights of anti-austerity protests, Interior Ministry spokesman Col.

The protests draw on anger over price and tax increases included in this year's budget that took effect on January 1. Police carried out raids to "arrest troublemakers and rioters involved in looting and stealing", he said.

Protests are expected to continue through January 14, the anniversary marking the removal of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country's former president. Unemployment among young Tunisians also remains high.

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Since the government announced that it would increase the price of gas, oil, cars, phone and internet services, as well as hotel accommodation and other items in the 2018 budget, many protests erupted across the country last week.

Instead of listening to us, the government is criminalizing us and treating us as if we are vandals and thieves."Tunisia's 2011 revolution was the first in the region and the North African country is hailed as the success story of the Arab Spring".

But Tunisia has had nine governments since Ben Ali's overthrow, none of which have been able to resolve deep-rooted economic problems. The International Monetary Funds says Tunisia is committed to "decisive action" to reform its economy before the IMF reviews the payment of its next loan tranche.

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