Tunisia deploys army as violent protests intensify

Tunisia: Protests against Rising Prices, Tax Increases Sweep Streets

One Killed as Protests against Rising Prices Build up in Tunisia

Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed, before ebbing on Thursday. Wednesday was the third successive night of violence, with nearly 600 people arrested in total since the start of the week.

The campaign began after the administration introduced a new set of taxes and hiked social contributions - mandated by global creditors - as part of the budget for the new year.

Hammami, who attended the protests in the capital, Tunis, on Tuesday, said that an estimated 400 people were in attendance.

At the beginning of January, the government raised prices on staple goods in an effort to cut the country's deficit.

In the city of Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia, protesters took to the streets for the second day in a row on Monday to denounce price increases and call for revisions to the Finance Act, TAP reported, noting that more protests were scheduled in the coming days.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, Belhassen al-Waslati, said military forces were deployed in a number of states "to secure the authorities' headquarters and public facilities, and protect them from the dangers of looting, theft and sabotage".

"What happened had nothing to do with democracy and protests against price hikes".

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Chahed has accused the main Popular Front opposition party of hypocrisy, saying that while its lawmakers backed the budget plan, its leaders are now calling for protests.

"The protesters in marginalized areas are portrayed by the authorities and mainstream media as looters or criminals", she said, but they are expressing "a real social despair".

Two major militant attacks in 2015 also greatly damaged the country's tourism industry, which made up eight percent of gross domestic product.

But Tunisia has had nine governments since Ben Ali's overthrow, none of which have been able to resolve deep-rooted economic problems.

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. In Kasserine province, protesters vandalised and burnt buildings and cars, along with clashes. In some towns, protesters burned tires to block roads and threw stones at police.

No one was hurt but the school suffered some light damage in the attack late on Tuesday during a violent protest against austerity measures in the tourist resort island of Djerba, the head of the Jewish community, Perez Trabelsi, told Reuters.

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