Arrests, clashes as protests over prices persist in Tunisia

Tunisian police arrested 328 people and fired tear gas as protesters hurled rocks and burned tires during further nationwide demonstrations over price rises.

The protests late Wednesday in multiple towns appeared less violent than previous nights, as heavy security was deployed at key sites.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said Thursday that those arrested are accused of destroying property, looting and theft.

Speaking on Mosaique radio, he said 21 officers were wounded in the latest skirmishes. He did not give estimates of the number of injured protesters.

The Tunisian government has accused political opponents of stoking the unrest and defended the unpopular price rises as essential to improving the economy.

Tunisia is marking seven years since a popular uprising overthrew the autocratic president and unleashed revolt across the Arab world.