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Tunisian police, protesters clash again over unemployment

Tunisian Police officers patrol after clashes in the streets of Kasserine, southern of Tunisia, Wednesday, Dec 26, 2018.The death of a Tunisian journalist Abderrak Zorgui who set himself on fire to protest economic problems in the North African nation prompted a protest that led to clashes with police and nationwide concern. (AP Photo/Walid Ben Sassi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Protesters clashed with police for a third consecutive night in Tunisia after a journalist set himself on fire and died this week to denounce the economic problems engulfing the North African nation.

National Guard spokesman Housameddine Jebabli said Thursday that protests took place in six different towns including Kasserine, in west central Tunisia, where journalist Abderrazak Zorgui set himself ablaze this week.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiane Zaag said 14 people were arrested overnight, in addition to the 18 arrests announced Wednesday.

Protests started after Zorgui posted a video online before his self-immolation describing his desperation and calling for revolt. He expressed frustration at the country’s high unemployment and the unfulfilled promises of Tunisia’s 2011 Arab Spring revolution.

A similar self-immolation, by a street vendor lamenting unemployment, corruption and repression, led to nationwide protests fueled by social media that brought down Tunisia’s long-time authoritarian president in 2011. That ushered in democracy for Tunisia and unleashed similar movements around the Arab world.

Tunisia’s journalists union has called for a general strike on Jan. 14 to mark the eighth anniversary of the revolution, and to protest the “deplorable condition” of media workers in the country.

Meanwhile, local authorities in Kasserine said another individual who threatened to kill himself was arrested by police on Thursday.

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