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Ruling Tunisian Party Rallies in Capital

Thousands of supporters of Tunisia's ruling Islamist party rallied in the capital Saturday, a day after police clashed with mourners during the funeral of a slain secular opposition leader.

The ruling Ennahda party says its demonstration in Tunis is aimed at showing support for the constitutional assembly whose work on a new constitution was disrupted when opposition leader Chokri Belaid was gunned down earlier this week outside his home.

Demonstrators shouted anti-French slogans to protest what they called "French interference," responding to French Interior Minister Manuel Valls' comments against rising "Islamist fascism" after Belaid's murder.

Belaid's family has accused the ruling party of being complicit in the murder, an accusation the ruling party denies.

On Friday, clashes between police and protesters broke out during Belaid's funeral.

Tens of thousands of mourners converged on the main cemetery in Tunis for Belaid's funeral procession. Police used tear gas at the cemetery to make way for the procession.



Many mourners chanted anti-Islamist slogans and some held banners denouncing Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda party, as an "assassin." Witnesses say some protesters threw stones at the police.

Tunisia's Interior Ministry says 132 people were arrested Friday.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali reiterated his plan Friday to replace the current government with a Cabinet of technocrats - a move the opposition has welcomed.

But Mr. Jebali's deputy in the Ennahda party has publicly rejected the plan. The rejection highlights divisions within the party.

Analysts say this could signal a political crisis as significant as the Tunisian protests that sparked the so-called Arab Spring two years ago.

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