More protests expected in Tunisia after mass arrests

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More protests expected in Tunisia after mass arrests

A third night of unrest in several cities and towns saw the arrests of 328 people on Wednesday alone, as protesters blocked roads and threw Molotov cocktails at police.

Activists in Tunisia have called for a major demonstration against the government's decision to increase taxes and the prices of basic goods, after hundreds of people were arrested in previous days of protests. Sixteen "Islamist extremists" were among those detained, he said.

"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".

The Popular Front said its leaders had been targeted in a political campaign that was "reproducing the methods of the oppressive Ben Ali regime".

The protests draw on anger over price and tax increases included in this year's budget that took effect on January 1. The government defends the measures as necessary to limit a budget deficit that hit six percent of the country's GDP. A synagogue was also attacked with a petrol bomb on Tuesday, in what authorities denounced as an act of vandalism linked to the protests, according to TAP.

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.

Protests are common in the North African state in the month of January, when Tunisians mark the anniversary of the 2011 revolution.

But Tunisia's economy has fallen stagnant partly due to its sluggish tourism sector. "Tunisia really needs painful economic reform".

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

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