SILIANA - Clashes erupted Thursday between Tunisian police and anti-government protesters in the central town of Siliana as unrest raged into a third day and spread to other parts of the deprived region.

Security forces fired warning shots and tear gas at hundreds of protesters trying to storm a police station in Siliana a day after more than 250 people were wounded in the town during clashes with police, AFP journalists reported.

The protesters, angry at the government’s failure to improve living standards, are demanding the resignation of the government-appointed regional governor, funds to boost development and the release of demonstrators arrested in April last year.

Similar grievances fuelled the Arab Spring uprising that toppled veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali early last year.

Police chased the protesters with batons in the surrounding streets while some among the crowd hurled rocks in response.

“We are demanding the departure of all these reinforcements. We will not accept the police agents of Siliana,” one protester said.

An ambulance was seen taking injured people to hospital, although the number of wounded was not immediately clear.

Protests also degenerated into violence in several localities nearby.

In the town of Kesra, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Siliana, dozens of protesters torched a security post and two police vehicles, after police fired tear gas in a bid to stop them from storming the building, witnesses said.

“Around 30 people set the place on fire,” said Ali, 17, a youth standing near the building with his friends.

The offices of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda in Kesra were also attacked and documents burned, witnesses said.

Police and hospital sources were not immediately available to confirm how many people were injured in the unrest.

And in the Gaafour locality, north of Siliana, protesters hurled rocks at police and army trucks heading to the flashpoint town, forcing some of them to turn back, according to witnesses there. In Siliana, protesters gathered early on Thursday at the headquarters of the UGTT trade union, which had called a general strike, before taking to the streets to demand the resignation of the governor.