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200 arrested, dozens hurt in fresh Tunisia unrest

– More than 200 people have been arrested and dozens of police hurt during clashes in Tunisia, the interior ministry said Wednesday, as anger over austerity measures spilt over into unrest.

The North African country has been hailed for its relatively smooth democratic transition since a 2011 revolt that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings, but seven years after the revolution tensions over economic grievances are high.

Tunisia has seen rising anger over hikes in value-added tax and social contributions after a tough new budget was applied at the start of the year.

Interior ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani told local radio that 49 police officers were wounded during a second night of clashes across the country Tuesday to Wednesday and that 206 “troublemakers” were arrested.

Properties were damaged, he said, including a branch of the Carrefour supermarket chain in the suburbs of Tunis that was looted.

A witness said youths threw stones at shop windows on Tuesday evening, taking advantage of the chaos to steal goods including electrical appliances. The police intervened, firing tear gas.

After a calm day on Wednesday, residents said demonstrators in the evening

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