Tunisia arrests opposition leaders during unrest

Tunisian security forces stand amid tear gas during clashes with protesters in the town of Tebourba

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

The army was deployed to the streets of several cities and towns after protesters set fire to dozens of state buildings this week.

So far, one person has died and more than 200 people have been arrested as protests continue to expand to small towns after activists and politicians denounced increases in Value-Added Tax and the introduction of social contributions at the start of the year as a tough new budget was implemented. At least one person has been killed in the protests.

"The budget law is the result of liberal policies". The reporter couldn't be identified in accordance with her company's policy.

Last year, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund agreed a four-year loan programme worth about $2.8bn with Tunisia, but tied to economic reforms. We will do our best to keep you anonymous.

He is embarrassed that at 32 he still lives at home, unable to find a good job since graduation a decade ago - a fate shared by many in a country where unemployment among the young runs around 30 percent.

Tunisia: 778 arrested for protesting against austerity measures
TUNISIA: 770 arrested over protests against plans to raise taxes, basic goods

The interior ministry said the aim of the perpetrators was to "sow chaos like that recorded in some parts of the country". Among the arrested were two radical Islamists who had helped storm a police station in Nefza town, he said. "The number of arrested individuals has reached 778".

In a statement to the press on Friday, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the government to stop using "excessive force".

Tunisia's main opposition Popular Front had called for demonstrations through the week.

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.

The government has blamed the opposition and "troublemakers" for stoking unrest, a charge the opposition has denied. The government has vowed not to back down on the austerity measures, taken to satisfy foreign lenders.

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