Tunisian police detain dozens after clashes

237 Tunisia protesters arrested in clashes this week

"The state will remain steadfast", warned Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, while his interior ministry has issued similar threats of a crackdown.

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

The country remains tense.

Protests are common in Tunisia in January, when people mark the anniversary of the revolution that ousted long-time dictator Ben Ali.

Fresh scuffles broke out on Tuesday night between Tunisian protesters and police, a day after the death of a man in violent demonstrations over rising costs and government austerity.

"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", United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

"People have to understand that the situation is extraordinary and their country is have difficulties but we believe that 2018 will be the last hard year for the Tunisians", Chahed said. That's in addition to more than 200 arrested earlier this week.

Speaking on Mosaique radio, he said 21 officers were wounded in the latest skirmishes.

On Sunday night in the city of Tala, a protest was led by a number of young people and regional residents to block the main road to the city and ignite the rubber wheels.

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The air in Tebourba was still thick with traces of tear gas on Tuesday. It is thought the attackers were taking advantage of police attention being elsewhere.

In the central city of Kasserine, the army intervened after protesters set fire to a police station. The police are arresting protesters in every region.

Khalifa Chibani, spokesman for Tunisia's interior ministry, told Tunisia's TAP news agency that at least 58 members of the security forces have been injured and 57 police vehicles damaged, according to The Associated Press.

The Arab revolutions saw people rise against oppression and authoritarianism, fighting for more democracy.

The government has defended the recent price and tax increases, saying they are necessary to revive the economy and curb budget deficit.

Chahed on Thursday accused political opponents and corrupt barons of stoking the unrest.

Protests were also reported in Gafsa and Tebourba, a town of fewer than 30,000 people, west of the capital, Tunis.

"I want to calm down Tunisians".

The group #Fech_Nestannew (What are we waiting for?) also called for more protests in the governorates on January 12.

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