Arson attacks were reported Saturday in the city of Fez, despite the deployment of soldiers following riots that left at least five people dead.

The government said one policeman and one civilian were among the five killed Saturday, and 97 officers and 30 civilians were injured in clashes Friday during a nationwide general strike to demand higher wages.Some union officials said more than 25 people were killed, but the claim could not be confirmed.

Less serious unrest occurred in several other cities, including Tangier, where 70 people reportedly were hurt.

On Saturday, protesters set fire to a police station and several vehicles in Fez, but order was restored by nightfall, authorities said.

The unions that had advocated the strike issued a communique blaming the government for the "serious consequences of resorting to intimidation, provocation and repression."

The government, however, said police in Fez suffered heavy casualties because they exercised restraint, using warning shots, tear gas and clubs to disperse rioters rather than firing at them.

Authorities said a policeman was fatally stabbed when his unit was surrounded by rioters, and a civilian was crushed to death by stampeding protesters during a police charge.

Fez, the religious and intellectual center of Morocco, suffered extensive damage from looting and arson.

In the earlier riots, the national news agency, MAP, said looters armed with chains and iron bars ransacked stores, banks and public buildings.

The rioters set about 50 buses and cars on fire and burned the deluxe Merindes Hotel, the agency said. It said some rioters reached a lounge on the fifth floor of the hotel and carried off the stocks of liquor.

About 210 people were arrested, including a group carrying away a safe containing more than $70,000 in cash, MAP reported. Several jewelry stores were looted.

The unions, which were seeking higher wages, claimed 80 percent of workers observed the strike call.