Tunisian security forces late Wednesday fired into the air to try to disperse more than 3,000 protesters who were trying to attack a government building in the provincial town of Kasserine, witnesses told Reuters.

The protesters took to the streets because they felt the country's new authorities had not given fair recognition to people from Kasserine killed by police during Tunisia's revolution earlier this year, residents said.

Young men are burning tyres in the street, one resident, Bouraoui Sadaoui, told Reuters from the town, which is about 280 km southwest of the capital, Tunis. They are throwing rocks and surrounding the town jail.

They want to set fire to the prison ... The military fired into the air and are using tear gas to disperse the people, he said. Several people have been injured by tear gas.

Tunisia became the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings in January when a wave of protests forced former President Zine al-Abidine to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Since then a new leadership has been elected in the north African country's first ever democratic vote.

Kasserine was one of the first towns to rise up against Ben Ali's rule, and also suffered some of the highest casualties of the revolution when police opened fire on demonstrators.

Another resident said the trigger for Wednesday's protest was a ceremony a day earlier to inaugurate Tunisia's new constitutional assembly in the capital.

During the ceremony the names of people killed in the revolution were read out, but residents said some of Kasserine's victims were omitted.

The situation is serious here, a local man called Adnen Nasri told Reuters from Kasserine.

People are very angry about how the town was marginalised by missing out the names of the town's martyrs, who were at the origins of the revolution.

Thousands of young people are now in a stand-off with the security forces in front of the prison, he said.

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Louise Ireland)