Residents of Tunisia's two main border crossings with Libya have begun a general strike to protest what they say is excessive force by police during clashes at the weekend that left one person dead.

The unrest in Ben Guerdane, near the northern Mediterranean crossing, and Tatouine, near the southern desert crossing, is influenced in part by the ongoing civil war in Libya. It is the first major challenge of Tunisia's new government and underlines the economic and political obstacles to stability and prosperity.

Locals demonstrated after the imposition of new border taxes disrupted the cross border trade the region depends on.

Residents closed schools, businesses and hospitals Tuesday to protest police action at the weekend.