News / Middle East

Protests Erupt at Funeral for Tunisian Opposition Politician

Mourners carried the coffin of slain opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi during part of his funeral procession in Tunis July 27, 2013.Mourners carried the coffin of slain opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi during part of his funeral procession in Tunis July 27, 2013.
Mourners carried the coffin of slain opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi during part of his funeral procession in Tunis July 27, 2013.
Mourners carried the coffin of slain opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi during part of his funeral procession in Tunis July 27, 2013.
VOA News
Tunisian police fired tear gas at crowds gathered outside the national parliament building Saturday in continuing protests about the killing of a leading opposition politician.
Protesters called for the dissolution of parliament. Elsewhere in Tunis, a smaller, rival group held a separate rally in support of the government.
The demonstrations began after the funeral of Mohamed Brahmi, a member of the secular Popular Front party who was gunned down on Thursday - shot 14 times by bullets from the same gun used to kill another opposition leader five months ago.  
Some mourners shouted anti-government slogans and waved photos of Brahmi on Saturday, as a military vehicle carried the slain politician's flag-draped coffin through Tunis.
Tunisian officials have blamed al-Qaida-linked extremists for killing Brahmi, who was a member of the secular Popular Front party.
On Friday, Interior Minister Loutfi Ben Jeddou said Brahmi was shot 14 times during a daytime attack. He said Brahmi was killed with the same automatic weapons used to murder Chokri Belaid, an opposition leader killed in February.
The interior minister also said investigators believe the assassin is Boubakr Hakim, a weapons smuggler with jihadi sympathies.
Many of the protesters have blamed the country's ruling Ennahda party for the assassination, saying the moderate Islamist party had not done enough to cut off funding or support for extremist groups.
Reuters news says police fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse protesters who gathered in front of the parliament building in Tunis.
Brahmi was a vocal critic of Tunisia's Islamist-led government and was helping draw up a new constitution. On Friday, Popular Front spokesman Hamma Hammami said the party was ready to launch an alternative government.
Tunisia's 2011 uprising ousted autocratic president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and sparked a wave of similar protests across the Middle East and North Africa.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 27, 2013 3:12 PM
Brahmi's killing is a prototype islamic regime hallmark. When a liberal stuck out his neck to legislate for moderation and freedoms in Punjab Pakistan a while ago, it was his own bodyguard that shut him up in broad daylight. Bet the brute-hero is enjoying his life in full out there - free even though he maybe in prison. For the ruling party in Tunisia to silence Brahmi using a hit man is not in doubt in a wild, wild Arabic, restive and conservative islamic society. The difference is the timid approach of hiding behind a faceless gunman - using the same gun that killed another moderate politician some months ago. No one can be fooled by what these islamists are up to whether they are the ruling or militant sector. Pakistan had to leak every secret operation at capturing Osama bin Laden, and that made bin Laden as elusive as a spirit until the govt. of Pakistan was left out of the operation before a success was recorded. Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, and every other islamist country has the hitman they use to eliminate anyone especially wanting to open up these societies. The Muslim Brotherhood adopted it in Egypt but the people of Egypt became too volatile to accommodate it for too long, resulting in another revolution in quick succession. But this is not going to be allowed to dominate politics in societies where people feel the urgency of liberation and freedom from the imprisonment in their own country. The moderate steps taken by the West toward this inhuman system of islamist states is over tasking the resilience, endurance and the ability of those concerned to tolerate it. Things have gotten to the boiling point as the people appear impatient to be liberated. What remains now is the burst. The Middle East and other places where the apartheid regime of islamic government is in force are at a boiling point, which is the incessant unrest and presently muted skirmishes. When it explodes, the world will have too much on their hand to contend with. The solution is simple: Let the people have their freedoms. Do not hold people bound in a religion they do no love; do not hold them against their wish: it is an illegal imprisonment and denial of their Fundamental Human Right. The UN should find a way of enforcing this on those backward countries, even if some Western countries will sabotage it for oil politics.

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