Arrests, clashes as protests over prices persist in…

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Associated Press

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – Tunisian police arrested 328 people and fired tear gas as protesters hurled rocks and burned tires during further nationwide demonstrations over price rises.

The protests late Wednesday in multiple towns appeared less violent than previous nights, as heavy security was deployed at key sites.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani said Thursday that those arrested are accused of destroying property, looting and theft.

A riot policemen hide behind a wall during anti-government protests in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

A riot policemen hide behind a wall during anti-government protests in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

A riot policemen hide behind a wall during anti-government protests in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

Speaking on Mosaique radio, he said 21 officers were wounded in the latest skirmishes. He did not give estimates of the number of injured protesters.

The Tunisian government has accused political opponents of stoking the unrest and defended the unpopular price rises as essential to improving the economy.

Tunisia is marking seven years since a popular uprising overthrew the autocratic president and unleashed revolt across the Arab world.

A riot policeman drags away a demonstrator during anti-government protests in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

A riot policeman drags away a demonstrator during anti-government protests in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

A riot policeman drags away a demonstrator during anti-government protests in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

Burning garbages block the street during anti-government protests in Tebourba, south of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

Burning garbages block the street during anti-government protests in Tebourba, south of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

Burning garbages block the street during anti-government protests in Tebourba, south of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed visits a sacked police station in El Battan, 35 kms west of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Hatem Ben Amor)

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed visits a sacked police station in El Battan, 35 kms west of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Hatem Ben Amor)

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed visits a sacked police station in El Battan, 35 kms west of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Hatem Ben Amor)

View of a sacked police station in El Battan, 35 kms west of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Hatem Ben Amor)

View of a sacked police station in El Battan, 35 kms west of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Hatem Ben Amor)

View of a sacked police station in El Battan, 35 kms west of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Hatem Ben Amor)

A demonstrator takes a paving stone as he clashes with riot police during anti-government protests in Tebourba, south of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

A demonstrator takes a paving stone as he clashes with riot police during anti-government protests in Tebourba, south of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

A demonstrator takes a paving stone as he clashes with riot police during anti-government protests in Tebourba, south of Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018. Tunisian authorities say 237 people were arrested and dozens of others injured across the country in recent days as violent protests against government-imposed price hikes spread to more cities and regions. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

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