In Tunisia, mass protests broke out

Tunisia arrests opposition leaders during unrest

The president said he would visit a disadvantaged neighbourhood of Tunis that had been the scene of street protests.

Establishment of a housing fund to make housing more affordable. Major Khelifa Chibani told state news agency TAP. There was no immediate toll for the number of protesters injured in the unrest.

Essebsi said in his speech that "young people have the right to say nothing has changed because there is no job", adding that his country now has about 620,000 unemployed which including 250,000 graduates of higher education. It said around 200 of those detained are aged between 15 and 20.

Calm returned to the country on Thursday night and there was "no attack against public or private property" in the night of Friday to Saturday, Chibani said.

"They also blame the government for breaking the pledges it made about improving the life standards in the country as poverty and high unemployment continue".

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".

An anti-austerity youth movement - named Fech Nestannow, which translates as "What are we waiting for?" - has sprung up since the start of the year and is seeking to rally opposition to the measures.

Thousands of People gathered for a peaceful march on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in downtown Tunis, where the most significant protest of the revolution took place on January 14, 2011. Despite the obvious political gains, however, Tunisians' economic expectations have gone largely unmet.

"We have only won the freedom of expression after the 2011 revolution. but we will remain in the streets until we win our economic rights just as we have our freedom", he added.

Prices have increased for fuel and some consumer goods, while taxes on cars, phone calls, the internet, hotel accommodation and other items have also gone up.

The 1018 budget, adopted at the end of past year, increases notably VAT, taxes on telephony or real estate and some im-port duties, and introduces a social contribution of solidarity on profits and wages to bail out social funds.

There were fresh protests in Tunis yesterday on the seventh anniversary of the ousting of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The Ennahda Islamist party, which governs in a coalition with secularists, called for the minimum monthly wage to be hiked to 357 dinars ($143) and for more aid for poor families, echoing calls by labour unions.

Tunisian authorities announced plans to boost aid to the needy in a bid to placate protesters whose demonstrations over price hikes degenerated into days of unrest across the North African nation, which is marking seven years on Sunday since its long-time autocratic ruler was driven into exile.



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