Tunisia deploys army to suppress growing unrest

Police vehicles stop in front of burning tires set up by protesters during demonstrations against rising prices and tax increases in Tunis Tunisia

Tunisian police clashed with anti-government protesters in the capital Tunis and several other towns on Tuesday, residents said, as fresh demonstrations against austerity measures broke out a day after one person was killed in unrest.

More than 300 people were arrested and almost 50 police officers wounded overnight on Wednesday in continued unrest in Tunisia over price hikes and austerity measures, the interior ministry said.

The protests have been raging across Tunisia since Monday over the new budget plan introduced by the Tunisian government on January 1, which includes a rise in fuel prices and tax hikes.

Protests took place in a number of towns across Tunisia on Monday following the government's decision to raise taxes under its 2018 Finance Act.

The protests broke out after activists and politicians denounced increases in Value-Added Tax and the introduction of social contributions at the start of the year as a tough new budget was implemented.

On Tuesday night, hundreds of young people took to the streets of Tebourba for the funeral of the man who died.

Tunisian security forces detain a protester in the Ettadhamen.

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The Tunisian revolution and Arab Spring started in December 2010 after street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi burned himself to death in the town of Sidi Bouzid in protest over unemployment, poverty, police harassment and graft.

Since those heady days, and after authoritarian rule returned to many Arab countries, Tunisia has stood out as the one success story.

The opposition Popular Front party is calling on the protests to continue on until the government's 2018 budget has been repealed. Witnesses told the news media they believed the man had been struck by a security vehicle, but the Interior Ministry said in a statement that he had had chronic shortness of breath and that his body showed no signs of violence or of having been run over.

"We expected things to improve after Ben Ali was ousted, but it seems that after seven years of the revolution, we'll give our salaries each month to Prime Minister Chahed for him to spend them", he said.

"Stuck between the International Monetary Fund and a restive population, the government can not simply try to please both and will need to come up with a new economic policy and narrative to break out of this impasse", said Riccardo Fabiani, senior North Africa analyst with Eurasia Group in London.

The demonstrations have so far been much smaller than previous protests since the overthrow of autocrat ruler Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

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