Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots
More than 600 people have been arrested and troops have been deployed after a third consecutive night of riots in several Tunisian cities, officials said Monday, AFP reports.
The unrest came after Tunisia imposed a nationwide lockdown to stem a rise in coronavirus infections on Thursday -- the same day as it marked the 10th anniversary of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's fall from power.
Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Hayouni said a total of 632 people were arrested, notably "groups of people between the ages of 15, 20 and 25 who burned tyres and bins in order to block movements by the security forces".
Defence ministry spokesman Mohamed Zikri meanwhile said the army has deployed reinforcements in several areas of the country.
Hayouni said that some of those arrested lobbed stones at police and clashed with security forces.
"This has nothing to do with protest movements that are guaranteed by the law and the constitution," said Hayouni.
"Protests take place in broad daylight normally... without any criminal acts involved," he added.
Hayouni said two policemen were wounded in the unrest.
It was not immediately clear if there were injuries among the youths and Hayouni did not say what charges those arrested faced.
The clashes took place in several cities across Tunisia, mostly in working-class neighbourhoods, with the exact reasons for the disturbances not immediately known.