Violent protests continue for a fourth night in Tunisia

Tunisia: Protests against Rising Prices, Tax Increases Sweep Streets

One Killed as Protests against Rising Prices Build up in Tunisia

One person was killed on Monday during clashes between security forces and protesters in a Tunisian town, the government said, as demonstrations over rising prices and tax increases spread in the North African country.

In the province of Siliana in northwestern Tunisia, young demonstrators tried to break into a court building, before targeting law enforcement officers with Molotov cocktails. The reporter could not be identified in accordance with her company policy.

Tuesday's fire was at a smaller prayer site.

The immediate cause of the unrest is government-imposed price and tax rises, which will raise the cost of basic goods but are said to be essential to cut a ballooning deficit and satisfy global lenders.

The police used tear gas to break up the protest, leading to riots. No casualties were reported.

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.

Tunisia has been hailed as the only democratic success of the Arab Spring: the one Arab country to topple a long-serving leader in that year's uprisings without triggering widespread violence or civil war.

On Sunday, Tunisian police dispersed a protest in the capital against the price hikes.

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But public anger has been building since January 1, when the government raised the price of petrol and other items and hiked social security contributions and taxes on cars, phone calls, internet usage and hotel accommodation.

"All we are asking for now is to wait", insisted Chahed, and he assured that 2018 will be the past year for some austerity measures given the positive economic indicators detected by his government.

Tunisia's main opposition Popular Front had called for demonstrations through the week.

Prime Minister Yousef Chahed has said the riots have descended into "acts of vandalism", he added: "What happened is violence that we can not accept".

Chahed, who heads a coalition of secular and Islamist parties, has said that 2018 will be a hard year for Tunisia but the economy will improve rapidly once the new measures take effect.

Police detained 328 people on Wednesday for theft, looting, arson and blocking roads, the interior ministry said Thursday, after arresting more than 280 people over the previous two days.

With the common man desperate to crawl out of economic hardship, protests in Tunisia - relatively a stable country in the middle of a volatile region - were held for the third consecutive night despite warnings from the government.

The call for major demonstrations on January 14, the seventh anniversary of the fall of autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the first of the Arab Spring revolts, came ahead of another night of violence into Thursday. The government may try to tough it out, but analysts say some concessions are likely to prevent the crisis getting out of hand. Under pressure from unions, officials have already agreed to increase public sector salaries this year and to avoid compulsory lay-offs which could provoke protests.

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