Anti-Austerity Protests Simmer in Tunisia

Anti-Austerity Protests Simmer in Tunisia

Uprisings in 2011 and two major militant attacks in 2015 damaged foreign investment and tourism, which accounts for 8 percent of Tunisia's economic activity.

"The people's money is in the palaces, and the children of the people are in the prisons", read one placard.

Tunisian authorities said Friday the number of people detained in a wave of violent protests had risen to almost 800, as fresh unrest over austerity measures hit a provincial town.

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". But the situation appeared calm in other flashpoint towns and neighborhoods across the country that had seen clashes that left dozens of police officers injured.

Dozens of Tunisians demonstrated on Friday outside the government's provincial headquarters in Tunis to demand the annulment of controversial legislation.

Rights group Amnesty International accused the authorities of using "increasingly heavy-handed methods to disperse rallies and subsequently arrest protesters" during the unrest.

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In a statement to the press on Friday, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the government to stop using "excessive force".

Police have insisted they did not kill the man.

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

Political scientist Hamza Meddeb said there was "very strong social anger" over a "political class increasingly cut off from the population" and because protests had not yet resulted in any concrete improvement.

But Tunisia's economy has struggled since the revolution, with growth remaining slow.

"The perpetrators want to sow dissension between Jewish and Muslim communities living in harmony on the island for many years", Trabelsi said.

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