The interior ministry, in statements issued directly or reported by the official TAP news agency, said the deaths have occurred since late Saturday in the western towns of Kasserine, Thala and Regueb, near the border with Algeria. The government said several police officers were wounded in the clashes.
Riots in the North African nation were triggered last month when a 26-year-old university graduate in the central city of Sidi Bouzid who could only find work as a street merchant set himself on fire after authorities confiscated his produce. The man, Mohammed Bouazizi, later died of his burns.
The street protests by angry students, professionals and youths have grown into the most widespread and violent outburst of popular dissent in President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule.