Tunisian govt hopes that days of food protests are subsiding

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More than 200 people were arrested and dozens hurt during clashes in several parts of Tunisia, the interior ministry said Wednesday, after a second night of unrest driven by anger over austerity measures.

Protesters face various charges, including vandalism, looting, attacks against public property and causing fires and road blocks, Interior Ministry spokesman Col.

The protests have broken out in response to an unpopular new Finance Act, which saw price hikes and Value-Added Tax increases imposed from January 1.

Chibani said 97 security officers were injured and some 88 police vehicles damaged in the protests.

"We're concerned about the high number of arrests, some 778 people we understand have now been arrested since Monday, and around a third of those arrested were between the ages of 15 and 20 so very young", Colville told reporters in Geneva.

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However, he said none of the boys spoke out about what was happening, adding: "It was nearly like an untold rule, like "shut up". The 63-year-old appeared at Liverpool Crown Court via video-link on Tuesday, accused of 48 counts of child sexual abuse.

"We are closely watching the demonstrations across Tunisia and the authorities' response to them", he said.

But frustration has grown among many Tunisians over economic stagnation and unemployment.

Activists and opposition politicians appealed for fresh demonstrations in the capital, Tunis, on Friday and on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of the toppling of authoritarian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the first leader to fall in the 2011 "Arab Spring" protests that swept the region.

Last year, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund agreed a four-year loan program worth about $2.8 billion with Tunisia, tied to economic reforms.

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