dpa/GNA – Tunisia has deployed its military to at least four cities after violent protests spread across the country in the last three days.

Demonstrators defied a curfew, imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus, and have taken to the streets every night since Friday protesting economic hardship.

A Defence Ministry official said on Sunday evening that army forces have been deployed in the cities of Sousse, Bizert, Kasserine and Siliana to support police forces and protect sovereign facilities.

In the capital Tunis, police forces used tear gas to disperse protesters, eye witnesses said. Videos shared on social media showed protesters blocking roads and setting tires on fire while security forces tried to chase and disperse the demonstrators.

An Interior Minister official said that some 242 people have been arrested.

The protests come as Tunisia marks 10 years after the uprising that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Since then, the country experienced an economic slowdown due to public unrest and ensuing attacks by militant insurgents.

The coronavirus pandemic worsened Tunisia’s ailing economy.

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