Tunisia: Thousands Take to Streets After Opposition Leader Gunned Down
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Tunisians gather outside the hospital in Ariana, on the outskirts of Tunis, after opposition figure and critic of Tunisia’s ruling Islamists, Mohamed Brahmi was gunned down in front of his home, near the capital, on July 25, 2013 (AFP Photo)
From RT.com – July 26, 2013
Tunisian opposition member Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead in the capital Tunis on Thursday, six months after the murder of another secular leader sparked a national crisis. Thousands of secularists have poured on to the streets in protest.
Several Islamist party offices and government buildings have been set on fire. Police in Tunisia’s second-largest city of Sfax have fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters who stormed a local government office while demonstrators threw stones at them. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
President Moncef Marzouki, who leads a secular center-left party, has called for calm in the face of “plots against Tunisia’s national security”.
Brahmi was the leader of the nationalist and secular People’s Movement party, which has two seats in the National Constituent Assembly, the temporary parliamentary body charged with drafting a new constitution for the country. Twitter reports, citing eyewitnesses, say two men on a motorcycle shot the politician as he stood by his car, before speeding away. Brahmi’s family witnessed the assassination.Tunisian opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi.(AFP Photo / Fethi Belaid)
Interviewed by local news station Mosaique FM, his pre-teen daughter said that her father “didn’t want to leave the house” but then “received an urgent phone call and rushed out to his car”, where he was mowed down.
Brahmi was declared dead upon arrival in hospital, with at least 11 bullet wounds.
“He died as a martyr to his opinion and position – he was killed by a terrorist gang,” his wife told Mosaique FM, placing the blame at the hands of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party.
“This is the biggest catastrophe that could happen in Tunisia. We have now had a series of political assassinations of anyone with a different, loud voice,” said fellow opposition deputy Najla Bourriel, a member of the Democratic Bloc, to local news portal Tunisia Live.
Spontaneous protests broke out on an already charged day that officially marks the foundation of the republic, a significant date for secularists.
“Down with the rule of the Islamists!” the crowd chanted as it gathered outside key government buildings, the opposition headquarters, and the hospital to which Brahmi was taken.
Some demanded for Brahmi’s body be brought out of the morgue and displayed in front of the crowd.
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