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Tunisia Saw another Night of Anti-government Protests

The prime minister acknowledged “legitimate” anger at the nation’s economic malaise while warning against the use of violence. Demonstrators blocked roads, burnt tires and skirmished with police in mainly working class neighbourhoods of Tunis and the central city of Kasserine, local broadcaster Mosaïque FM reported. More than 600 people have been arrested in upheaval that began late last week. Prime minister Hichem Mechichi said he “understood the anger and frustration of the youth” amid a “critical” economic situation, in a televised address on Tuesday evening, but he added that “chaos is not acceptable” and attacks on property would be met with the full force of the law. Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, has had more than 10 governments in the decade since a wave of protests toppled president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and rippled across the region. The political instability has hampered efforts to reduce youth unemployment and corruption, key drivers of the revolt, while repeated terrorist attacks slowed the crucial tourism industry even before the Covid-19 pandemic depressed global travel.