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Tunisia: 778 arrested for protesting against austerity measures

Tunisian security forces are called to the scene after protesters set tires and garbage containers on fire to protest against austerity measures Tunis, Tunisia on 10 January 2018 [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]

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

Protests broke out last weekend and have since spread to more than 20 towns as people demonstrate against new taxes and price increases imposed by the Finance Act 2018 introduced on 1 January in order to reduce the increasing deficit.

One protestor was killed and dozens of government headquarters and institutions were set on fire. The government has now deployed army forces to protect public buildings which have become targets for protestors.

A spokesman for the Tunisian interior ministry, Khalifa Chibani, said: "The protests have decline and there was no vandalism or destruction last night, but the police arrested 150 individuals involved in acts of vandalism and rioting committed in the past few days. The number of arrested individuals has reached 778."

"Thirty-one and half per cent of those arrested are between the ages of 15 and 20, 54.9 per cent between the ages 20 and 30 and 11.7 per cent are between 31 and 40. Those over 40 are estimated at 1.4 per cent," he explained.

Read: Tunisia's opposition urges more protests until government drops austerity measures

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