Scores Arrested In Tunisia Protests

Anti-Austerity Protests Simmer in Tunisia

More Protests Expected in Tunisia after Mass Arrests

Tunisian security forces have restored calm across the national territory starting from last night, interior ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said Friday morning.

At least 773 protesters demonstrating against austerity measures in Tunisia have been arrested throughout the nation since Monday, the country's Interior Ministry said.

The opposition bloc "people's front" rejected the accusations and called for a large-scale protest on Sunday, January 14, on the seventh anniversary of "the Second Jasmine revolution" and the overthrow of President Ben Ali.

They spiralled after the government hiked prices of staple goods and introduced new taxes at the start of the year to try to tackle a ballooning deficit and appease foreign lenders.

"What happened is violence that we can not accept".

While the other revolutions have descended into violence or given way to authoritarianism, Tunisia is widely seen as a success story of the Arab Spring. The economy worsened since a vital tourism sector was almost wiped out by a wave of deadly militant attacks in 2015, and has yet to recover despite improved security.

There were no protests in Djerba itself, but locals said unknown assailants had exploited the fact that there was a reduced security presence as police were busy elsewhere.

The main labour union and Islamists, who co-rule with secular forces, had demanded an increase in aid for poor families after the protests began.

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.

In a written statement, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said authorities must ensure that people are not arrested in an arbitrary manner and that their rights are respected. In Tunis, a crowd stormed a Carrefour market.

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.

Its democracy remains for the most part intact and a secular party now leads the government in coalition with a moderate Islamist group.

There was no immediate response from the government.

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