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Tunisia Arrests Dozens of People as Protests Break Out for Second Night | News of the protests

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Tunisian authorities say they have arrested at least 240 young people as violent clashes between police and protesters erupted.

Riots and violent clashes between Tunisian police and protesters erupted in the capital Tunis and several other cities on Sunday for the second day in a row, as security forces arrested dozens of young people.

The unrest came as the country faced an unprecedented economic crisis and a nationwide lockdown imposed since Thursday as part of efforts to contain the surge in coronavirus infections.

Internal Security Forces spokesman Walid Hkima said riot police arrested 242 people, most of them teenagers and children, who vandalized property and attempted to rob shops and banks during the night and during the day on Sunday in several cities.

A decade after a revolution against poverty, corruption and injustice, Tunisia has progressed towards democracy but its economic problems have worsened, the country on the brink of bankruptcy and public services in dire straits.

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 9 percent last year, consumer prices have skyrocketed and a third of young people are unemployed.

The key tourism sector, already on its knees after a series of deadly attacks by armed groups in 2015, has suffered a devastating blow from the pandemic.

Tunisia has recorded more than 177,000 cases of coronavirus, including more than 5,600 deaths from the disease.

Protesters did not make clear demands during protests – which authorities have called riots – in at least 10 cities across the country.

In the dilapidated Ettadamen district of the capital, protesters – mostly teenagers – blocked roads and threw stones at police. Police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse them on Sunday.

The clashes also spread to the Mnihla neighborhood in Tunis.

The protests pose a challenge for Hicham Mechichi’s government, which has reshuffled its cabinet amid an ongoing battle for political influence.

Rural areas in the center and south of the country remain hot spots for riots.

Witnesses told Reuters news agency protests took place in the central towns of Sbeitla and Kasserine on Sunday, where police chased protesters and fired tear gas.

In the town of Jelma, in the governor of Sidi Bouzid, the police dispersed young people who blocked roads and burned tires to protest against their marginalization and poverty.

Other demonstrations took place in the towns of Ras Djbel, Ksar Hlel and Beja.



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