Tunisian army on the streets after days of major protests against austerity

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More than 200 people were arrested and dozens were injured on Tuesday as a wave of demonstrations continues to shake several cities in Tunisia following new austerity measures resulting from the 2018 Finance bill, which is expected to increase the cost of living. Police carried out raids to "arrest troublemakers and rioters involved in looting and stealing", he said.

The UN says it is concerned about the number of arrests during anti-government protests in Tunisia.

Three local leaders of the Popular Front, the main opposition bloc, were detained in Gafsa for allegedly setting fire to a government building, a judicial source said.

Almost a week of sometimes violent protests across the country followed the announcement of austerity measures in this year's budget, which took effect on January 1.

Almost 800 Tunisians have now been arrested following clashes which broke out as a result of mass demonstrations against government austerity measures.

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The authorities respected the right to protest but acts of vandalism were being brought under control, the government said in a statement.

Six years since the 2011 uprising that overthrew Ben Ali, Tunisia has been held up as a model for avoiding the violence that has affected other nations after their Arab Spring revolts. Tunisian politicians were awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for achieving non-violent change.

A Tunisian citizen told Reuter that police fired tear gas in two districts of the North African's capital Tunis on Tuesday and also fired gas at a crowd storming a supermarket, but no casualties were reported. 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.

But Tunisia's economy has struggled since the revolution, with growth remaining slow. "Tunisia really needs painful economic reform".

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