Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 18:44 UK

One killed in Tunisian price riot

Protesters shout anti-government slogans as they demonstrate against a government hike in fuel prices, Kolkata, India, 6 June, 2008
Protests have brought different parts of India to a standstill

A protester has died in Tunisia in clashes with police over unemployment and inflation on a day which also saw unrest in Asia over living costs.

Police opened fire after they came under attack from the crowd protesting in the south-western town of Redeyef, and several people were also wounded.

Indian police arrested 20 people in Mumbai during protests at inflation.

And in Malaysia, the government refused to bow to opposition demands for a reversal of fuel price rises.

Problematic inflation

Friday's violence in Tunisia follows weeks of protests against poor living conditions in the North African nation.

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People across India protest at fuel costs

"Security forces were pelted with incendiary devices and moved to take out a number of people who had made them," said a government official.

Angry demonstrators in different parts of India paralysed roads and railways on what was the second day of the protests.

Malaysia's government defended its decision to raise fuel prices after an opposition party held protests on Thursday to denounce the move.

"No," was the simple answer Domestic Trade Minister Shahrir Samad gave reporters when asked if the government would bring prices back to their earlier level.

The soaring cost of oil is causing growing strain to economies around the world, rich and poor, BBC correspondents say.

With prices more than doubling in the past year to $135 a barrel, the impact is being felt acutely by consumers and businesses alike.

The risk of strikes and social unrest has become a reality in many countries as fuel becomes unaffordable for more people, our reporters say.

Indian inflation rose higher last month, pushed up by rising fuel prices.

Ministers recently raised petrol and diesel prices by about 10%, sparking fears about fuel affordability and resulting social unrest.

Energy costs make up 14.2% of the inflation index and some economists are estimating that the fuel hike will further lift the inflation rate by 50-110 basis points.

In addition to fuel and food price rises, some analysts have forecast that transport and feedstock costs will rise within the next two to three months.





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