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Tunisian Opposition Politician Mohammed Brahmi Assassinated

Tunisian opposition politician Mohammed Brahmi was shot dead on Thursday in the second such assassination this year, setting off violent protests against the Islamist-led government in the capital and elsewhere.

According to the

“With a brazen hail of bullets, gunmen assassinated a prominent opposition leader on Thursday as his family watched, inciting nationwide outrage and exposing a deepening political divide in Tunisia, the last bastion of relative stability among the Arab countries convulsed by revolutionary upheavals over the past two years.

“The assassination of the opposition leader, Brahmi, was the second time in five months that a leading liberal politician was fatally shot. Many suspected that Islamist extremists were responsible and warned that they threatened the kind of pluralistic democracy envisioned in Tunisia’s 2011 uprising, which inspired the Arab Spring revolutions.

“The assassination drew swift international condemnation from across the globe.

“The U.S. State Department called for a ‘transparent and professional’ investigation, while French President Francois Hollande urged Tunisians to show ‘the necessary spirit of responsibility to preserve national unity and guarantee the pursuit of the democratic transition.'”

According to

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay called for the killers to be brought to account and said the government must do more to ‘deter these terrible acts’ and protect people at risk.

“Thousands of people protested outside the Interior Ministry in Tunis and a hospital in the Ariana district where Brahmi’s body had been taken. ‘Down with the rule of the Islamists,’ they chanted, and demanded that the government resign.

“Big crowds accompanied Brahmi’s body when it was taken later for autopsy at another Tunis hospital. Despite the presence of hundreds of soldiers and police, protesters smashed cars and broke some windows of the hospital in Ariana, witnesses said.

“In Tunis, riot police fired teargas in front of the Interior Ministry to try to disperse protesters, a witness said.

“Similar demonstrations erupted in the southern town of Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the Tunisian revolution, where protesters set fire to two local Ennahda party offices, witnesses said.”

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