Scuffles as Tunisia protesters wave yellow cards at government

Scuffles as Tunisia protesters wave yellow cards at government

Scuffles as Tunisia protesters wave yellow cards at government

"We're concerned about the high number of arrests, some 778 people we understand have now been arrested since Monday, and around a third of those arrested were between the ages of 15 and 20 so very young", United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

Opposition forces have gathered to coordinate their protests.

The clashes have led to more than 200 arrests and dozens of injuries as protesters across the country vent their anger over austerity measures.

Protests against rising prices and tax increased spread to around 10 towns across the North African country, residents told Reuters.

The uprising began in December 2010 after street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire and later died in a protest over unemployment and police harassment.

Tunisians have been battling for the past seven years since the ousting of authoritarian president Ben Ali signalled the start of the so-called Arab Spring.

The number of those detained in the ongoing protests in Tunisia has risen to 778 after 151 people were arrested on Thursday, Interior Ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani has announced.

On Monday, one person was killed following violence in Tebourba.

Tunisians have become increasingly frustrated since the government said it would increase the price of gasoil, some goods, and taxes on cars, phone calls, the internet, hotel accommodation and other items from January 1, as part of austerity measures agreed upon with its foreign lenders.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed visited one of the affected areas, where he criticized the main opposition party backing the protests - the Popular Front - and said criminal networks were exploiting the unrest, according to the CNN.

The protests late on Wednesday in multiple towns appeared less violent than previous nights as heavy security was deployed at key sites.

"We are in a democracy, and those who want to protest can do it during the day, not at night,"said Chahed, who heads a coalition of Islamist and secular parties". The Tunisian government allows the demonstrations to release steam, while at the same time trying to promote reforms to improve the economy.

"Prices of medicine have increased".

Tunisian trade deficit reached a record high of 15.59 billion dinars (about US$6.33 billion) until the end of 2017, data from Tunisia National Institute of Statistics shows.

It gave the country a $2.9bn loan in 2015.

The origin point of the Arab Spring, Tunisia is widely perceived as the only democratic success story from the 2011 wave of uprisings (Eurasia Group/Time).

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