Hundreds of protesters have stormed the seat of the local government in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid where the revolution first erupted that went on to spawn the Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East.

The state news agency reported that police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the protesters who were angry over the lack of jobs and depressed economic circumstances in this town.

The crowd was also calling for the release of dozens of young men arrested in earlier demonstrations over the past week.

Tunisia's interior has always suffered economically compared to the wealthier coastal regions and inhabitants say little has improved since the revolution that overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.