TUNIS - The mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked a mass uprising in Tunisia that touched off the Arab Spring, has been remanded in custody for insulting an official, the justice ministry said on Saturday.

Manoubia Bouazizi, 60, was arrested on Friday after an altercation with a judge in a court in the central western town of Sidi Bouzid.

She was transferred to a detention centre in nearby Gafsa and is due to appear before a magistrate on Monday, charged with insulting an official while he was performing his duties, ministry spokesman Mondher Bedhiafi told AFP.

The uprising in Tunisia was sparked in December 2010 when Bouazizi's son Mohamed, a 26-year-old who was complaining of unemployment, died after setting himself on fire.

On Friday, another son, Salem, said his mother argued with a clerk of the court, not the judge, who embarrassed her and pushed her towards the exit, at which point the two exchanged insults.

"My mother was humiliated. The authorities must learn to respect people. We're not going to let this go," Salem Bouazizi told AFP by telephone.

He said his mother had been at the courthouse to sign documents that would allow her to receive government compensation awarded to "martyrs of the revolution."