The London Telegraph
Chokri Belaid, a campaigning politician who warned of the dangers of Islamist groups, has been shot and killed in Tunisia. Thousands of people flocked to protest outside the interior ministry in Tunis, in the aftermath of the execution-style assassination. The offices of Ennahda, the government, have also been attacked, according to attacks.
The demonstrators accused Ennahda of failing to prevent the proliferation of violent fundamentalist factions inspired by al-Qaeda.
Shokri Belaid was shot in the head and chest as he left his home in Tunis.
Belaid was part of the secular opposition Popular Front movement that opposes the Islamist-led government that emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring revolution.
"My brother was assassinated. I am desperate and depressed," Abdelmajid Belaid, brother of the dead leader said. "I accuse [Ennahda leader] Rached Ghannouchi of assassinating my brother," he said.
Belaid's party was part of a coalition of parties which has emerged in opposition to the Tunisia government.
The country is witnessing a rise in violence fed by political and social discontent more than two years after the toppling of the former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Several opposition parties and trade unions have accused the pro-Islamists of orchestrating clashes or attacks against them.
President Moncef Marzouki cut short a visit to France and canceled a visit to Egypt scheduled for Thursday after the killing, which brought around 1,000 protesters onto the streets outside the Interior Ministry.
"The murder of Belaid is a political assassination and the assassination of the Tunisian revolution. By killing him they wanted to silence his voice," said Jebali, who heads the government led by the Ennahda party, which won Tunisia's first post-Arab Spring election in 2011.
Belaid, who died in hospital after being shot in the capital Tunis, was a leading member of the opposition Popular Front party.
Tunisia, the first Arab country to oust its leader and hold free elections as uprisings spread around the region two years ago, has so far made a relatively smooth transition to democracy.
The demonstrators shouted slogans against Ennahda, the ruling Islamist party, and sang the national anthem outside the ministry on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, epicenter of the 2011 uprising that ousted ex-dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Ennahda won 42 percent of seats in the first post-Arab Spring elections in October 2011 and formed a government in coalition with two secular parties, President Moncef Marzouki's Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol.
Since then, the government has faced many protests over economic hardship. Hampered by declining trade with the crisis-hit euro zone, it has struggled to deliver the better living standards.
"Ennahda strongly condemns this heinous crime which targeted Mr Belaid, and further targeted the country's security and stability," a statement said. "[And] offers its sincere condolences to Mr Belaid's family, to his party the Popular Front and to the political class."
According to his family, Mr Belaid regularly received death threats, most recently on Tuesday, but refused to limit his high-profile activities.
Over the weekend, radicals disrupted a rally led by Belaid in northern Tunisia, part of a string of political meetings that were disrupted by gangs.
Mr Belaid had been particularly outspoken against the so-called "Committees to Protect the Revolution," which many accuse of being behind the violence. These groups are believed to be affiliated with the Ennahda Party and say it is their mission to seek out remnants of the old regime.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 02/06/2013
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