Tunisia president meets employers, unions after unrest


"Unknown people took the opportunity of the protests and threw Molotov cocktails into the lobby of (the)... school", the head of the local Jewish community, Perez Trabelsi, told Reuters.

At least one person has died since Sunday, when protests against an unpopular new Finance Act, which saw price hikes and Value-Added Tax increases imposed from January 1, first broke out in the capital, Tunis, and across the country. The anti-austerity youth movement is named Fech Nestannow, which translates as "What are we waiting for?"

"We've got the same demands we've been seeking for years - to tackle real problems like the economic crisis and the high cost of living", she told AFP.

Checks by the United Nations has revealed that no less than 770 protesters have been arrested by Tunisian authorities after almost a week of demonstrations over plans to raise tax and basic goods.

Tunisian security forces have restored calm across the national territory starting from last night, interior ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said Friday morning.

Friday's demonstrations were reported to be peaceful.

Amnesty International on Friday accused the Tunisian authorities of using "increasingly heavy-handed methods to disperse rallies and subsequently arrest protesters" during the unrest. There was no immediate toll for the number of protesters injured in the unrest.

A man in his 40s died in unrest on Monday night in the northern town of Tebourba though police have insisted they did not kill him.

In the southwestern city of Gafsa, meanwhile, dozens of supporters of the Popular Front (a parliamentary coalition that holds 15 of the assembly's 217 seats) demonstrated against the arrest of three leftist opposition activists.

Tunisia's 2011 revolution was the first in the region and the North African country is hailed as the success story of the Arab Spring.

A spokesman for the prime minister in a statement said the protesters were "thugs aged between 17 and 21 who are not affected by the impact of the finance law".

European governments warned their citizens about potential rioting on Friday and this weekend, when Tunisia marks seven years since the ouster of President Zine Ben Abidine Ben Ali.