Unemployed protesters demonstrate in Tunis,  Jan. 22, 2016.
Unemployed protesters demonstrate in Tunis, Jan. 22, 2016.

Tunisia has declared a nationwide curfew following four days of protests and clashes, the worst unrest since the 2011 revolution that led to the toppling of longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The Interior Ministry said the curfew, which lasts from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., is necessary to prevent damage to public and private property.

Earlier Friday clashes were reported in several areas including the central town of Sidi Bouzid and Kasserine. At least 16 people were arrested in the capital, Tunis, following clashes there.

At least three police stations have come under attack within 24 hours with dozens of officers injured. Police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators.

The unrest erupted last week after a young man who lost out on a government job climbed a transmission tower in protest and was electrocuted.

Five years ago the suicide of another unemployed youth set off a popular uprising that overthrew Tunisia's ruler and eventually gave rise to the "Arab Spring'' uprisings across North Africa.

Tunisia's prime minister, Habib Essid, cut short a visit to Europe to deal with the protests.

As many as one-third of Tunisia's young people are unemployed. Nationwide the unemployment rate stands at around 15 percent.

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