One dead and more than 200 arrested in Tunisia protests

One dead and more than 200 arrested in Tunisia protests

Tunisian police walk past a police vehicle that was damaged during demonstrations the previous night in the northern town of Tebourba on Thrusday following the third night of protests in Tunisia.

One person has died, 50 policemen injured and more than 200 people arrested in two nights of violent protests in Tunisia, driven by anger over austerity measures. A video circulating on Facebook on Tuesday purportedly showed how police ran over the 55-year-old man, but the country's interior ministry denied the allegations and insisted he died from "chronic shortness of breath". The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Tunisia is committed to "decisive action" to reform its economy before the IMF reviews the payment of its next loan tranche.

"Today we have a meeting with the opposition parties to coordinate our movements, but we will stay on the street and we will increase the pace of the protests until the unjust financial law will be dropped", Popular Front leader Hamma Hammami told reporters.

Tunisians have been battling for the past seven years since the ousting of authoritarian president Ben Ali signalled the start of the so-called Arab Spring.

Tunisia is widely seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab Spring uprisings. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called for calm, while at the same time affirming the right to demonstrate in the streets.

Tunisian security forces detain a protester in the Ettadhamen.

But the country remains plagued by high unemployment and economic woes that nine governments since the revolution have been unable to address.

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On Tuesday, suspected Islamists threw petrol bombs at a Jewish school on the tourist island of Djerba.

The defence ministry said the army was now protecting banks, post offices and other government buildings in Tunisia's main cities.

Police fired tear gas at demonstrators in the Djebel Lahmer district of Tunis, while there were flare-ups and riots in the city of Gafsa and impoverished inland regions of Kasserine and Jelma.

Meanwhile, similar protests have broken out in the African nation of Sudan against the autocratic regime of Omar al-Bashir, which announced sharp price increases for flour, resulting in a doubling of the price of bread overnight.

Warda Atig is one of the founders and spokespeople for the Fech Netannew - What Are We Waiting For? - campaign, which had organised Friday's protests.

Worldwide lenders extended a crucial $2.8bn (£2.1bn) loan to Tunisia past year, but have demanded cuts to the civil service and a broader austerity programme.

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