Anti-govt protest: Petrol bombs thrown at Jewish school in Tunisia

Tunisia: Protests against Rising Prices, Tax Increases Sweep Streets

In Tunisia, protests continue as the country approaches an important anniversary.

"All we are asking for now is to wait", insisted Chahed, and he assured that 2018 will be the previous year for some austerity measures given the positive economic indicators detected by his government.

He had previously acknowledged that the country was facing extraordinary and hard times, and promised to end economic hardship.

Protests have taken place in at least 10 different areas, including the capital, Tunis, in the last few days.

"These protests have lost their peaceful way and have been dethroned from their itinerary following the infiltration of a large number of criminals and intruders, who try to sow chaos and carry out violence or even looting", said Khalifa Chibani, official spokesman of the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior.

The police intervened, firing tear gas. Five people were wounded and taken to a hospital, state news agency TAP said.

A representative of Tunisia's Jewish community said two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the entrance to two Talmudic schools on the Mediterranean island of Djerba, but their interiors were not damaged.

In a Tunis suburb, citizens intervened to help police hold off rioters armed with knives and firebombs trying to attack a train.

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The military has been deployed to protect government buildings, banks and stores, the defense ministry said.

The anti-austerity demonstrators are demanding the government drop the 2018 budget, which opposition groups describe as "unfair". Food prices have also risen by about 8 percent each year since the 2011 revolution, while unemployment stands at over 15 percent.

The 2018 budget also raises customs taxes on some products imported from overseas, such as cosmetics, and some agricultural products.

"If they do not answer these demands, we will call for the scrapping of parliament". "Successive governments have consistently failed to address this issue and to invest in developing the central and southern regions".

The demonstrations have so far been much smaller than previous protests since the overthrow of autocrat ruler Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Since Ben Ali's ouster, Tunisia has grappled with political instability and militant attacks that have driven away investors and tourists.

Global lenders extended a crucial $2.8bn (£2.1bn) loan to Tunisia a year ago, but have demanded cuts to the civil service and a broader austerity programme. "In the first phase [of deployment], 2,000 soldiers were dispatched Tuesday evening to 123 different parts of the country".

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said "violence will not be tolerated" and "the authorities have no other choice but to apply the law".

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