The government of Tunisia has closed all of the North African country’s universities and high schools indefinitely in the wake of massive student protests that left at least 14 dead at the hands of police.

Protests against the government elite and rising unemployment have been going on for weeks, but police violence escalated over the weekend as cops in several cities fired into crowds. Protests against that violence then led the government to announce the closures yesterday.

I’m still getting up to speed on this story. I’ll have more later.

Update | This CNN story quotes a Tunisian government source as saying that 19 protesters have been killed in the cities of Thala and Kasserine, with activists claiming the number is “closer to 50.” Amnesty International is cited saying that there were at least 23 deaths over the weekend, and more yesterday.

More background from the New York Times, which reports that the unrest began three weeks ago when an unemployed 26-year-old college graduate committed suicide by self-immolation after police confiscated a container of produce he was attempting to sell on the street. The Times additionally reports that “the riots are believed to have spread in part through social-media Web sites, and the Tunisian government reportedly directed Internet service providers to hack into the accounts of individual users.”