Protests continue in Tunisia over economic crisis, more than 600 arrested
Unrest and violent clashes between Tunisian police and protesters broke out on Sunday in the capital Tunis and at least 15 cities for the third consecutive night, as the North African country faces an unprecedented economic crisis.
The army deployed to the cities of Sousse, Bizert, Kasserine and Seliana only to protect some government buildings.
Tunisian authorities said earlier that they had arrested more than 600 people, mostly teenagers, after violent clashes with police in several cities overnight and during the day on Sunday.
A decade on from a revolution against poverty, corruption and injustice, Tunisia’s economic problems have worsened, with the country on the verge of bankruptcy and public services in a dire situation.
The protesters made no clear demands in demonstrations - which authorities described as riots - in at least 10 cities around the country.
In the run-down Ettadamen area of the capital, protesters, most of them teenagers, blocked roads and threw stones at police. Police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse them on Sunday.
Protesters looted shops in several cities. Mhadia, Sousse, Bizert, Kairaouan, Kebeli, Seliana, Nabeul, Manouba Gafsa and Monastir were among the cities that saw violent protests on Sunday.
The protests pose a challenge for the government of Hicham Mechichi, who has reshuffled his cabinet amid an ongoing battle for political influence.
Rural central and southern regions of the country remain flashpoints for rioting.
In Jelma town in the governor of Sidi Bouzid, police dispersed youths who blocked roads and burned tires to protest against their marginalisation and poverty.