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Riots erupt in Tunisia over unemployment, living conditions

Riots broke out in the Tunisian cities of Thala and Kasserine during the weekend over high unemployment rates and unsatisfactory living conditions, resulting in at least 19 deaths among the protesting factions and 30 police injuries.

CNN reports that Minister of Information Samir Abidi cited the 19 deaths, though Amnesty International announced that 23 protesters died when police attempted to dispel the riots using tear gas and ammunition.

The protesters' call to action included a demand for better social services, prompting President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali to announce on television that he would create up to 300,000 new jobs and lower employer taxes who take on new hires, according to CNN.

Tunisia has an overall 14 percent unemployment rate with 25 percent of all college graduates unemployed. The riots reportedly were sparked by the suicide of a 26-year-old college graduate after police claimed he was operating a food cart without a license, stripping him of his only source of income, the news source reports.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, Tunisia has reached self-sufficiency for some foods and is well-met for its national energy needs.
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