Tunisia police fire tear gas after opposition leader shot
Tunisian police fired tear gas amid clashes triggered by the killing of a senior opposition leader, the first such assassination in the country since President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted two years ago.
Democratic Patriots leader Chukri Beleid was pronounced dead at a local hospital after an attack outside his home yesterday, said Ziad Lakhdar,
a senior party official. There has been no claim of responsibility.
Protesters yelled, “Shame, shame, Chukri died by fire!” and “the people want to topple the government,” outside the Interior Ministry on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis. In the city of Sidi Bouzid, demonstrators burned tires and threw stones at the police. The offices of the ruling moderate Islamist Ennahda party were torched around the country, Al Arabiya television said.
The opposition said it holds the government and Interior Ministry responsible for the killing, and called a general strike to mark the day of Beleid’s funeral. The unrest heaps pressure on the coalition government as it struggles to bridge economic and political rifts and violence by Salafis, Islamists seeking a strict interpretation of Shariah law in the traditionally secular nation.