News / Africa

Tunisian Mourners, Police Clash at Opposition Leader Funeral

Tunisians hold a placard with an image of the late secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid during his funeral procession in the Jebel Jelloud district in Tunis, February 8, 2013.
Tunisians hold a placard with an image of the late secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid during his funeral procession in the Jebel Jelloud district in Tunis, February 8, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Bryant
— Thousands of people flocked to Tunis's main cemetery, as they paid last respects to a leftist opposition politician who was assassinated earlier this week. Friday's event was marred by violence as police fired tear gas and clashed with young protesters outside the cemetery.  

The cemetery was a sea of people who scaled walls and tombstones under rain and wind, straining for a glimpse of the funeral cortege of slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

Some sang Tunisia's national anthem and many showed up with Tunisia's red and white flag wrapped around them.

Many expressed anger at Tunisia's rising insecurity that culminated in Belaid's assassination on Wednesday - and bitterness that the hopes of the country's 2011 revolution have failed to pan out. That was the reaction of 50-year-old doctor Slim Sambura, who attended Belaid's funeral with his family.

tunisia tear gastunisia tear gas
x
tunisia tear gas
tunisia tear gas
"We do a revolution the 14th of January [2011] for good life, democracy and safety. And now we don't have security, we don't have democracy. And our government doesn't do anything for the safety, for security for our children," said Belaid.

Many Tunisians are concerned about the rise of hardline Islamists, who have reportedly attacked or threatened opposition politicians, artists and other secular figures. Belaid's family has blamed the ruling party, Ennahda, for his death. The party adamantly denies the accusation, however, and has condemned his killing.

Related video by Jeff Seldin and Mark Snowiss


Tunisians Mourn Slain Opposition Leaderi
X
February 08, 2013
Mourners have clashed with police at the funeral of slain Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid - his death sparking new anger against the government and plunging the country into further uncertainty. VOA's Jeff Seldin and Mark Snowiss have the latest.


  • Supporters of the ruling Ennahda party shout slogans in support of the party during a demonstration in Tunis, Feb. 9, 2013.
  • A tear gas canister flies in the air as thousands of Tunisians gathered at el Jallez cemetery to attend the funeral of slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid, Feb. 8, 2013.
  • A Tunisian woman walks past burning cars during clashes with the police near the funeral of slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid, Feb. 8, 2013.
  • Riot police clash with protesters next to the cemetery where thousands of Tunisians gathered to attend the funeral of slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid, near Tunis, Feb. 8, 2013.
  • Mourners carry the coffin of opposition leader Chokri Belaid during his funeral procession, Tunis, Tunisia, Feb. 8, 2013.
  • A sticker with an image of the late opposition leader Chokri Belaid is seen as a woman mourns during his funeral procession, Tunis, Feb. 8, 2013.
  • Mourners carry the coffin of slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid during his funeral procession towards El-Jellaz cemetary, Tunis, Feb. 8, 2013.
  • Tunisians accompany the ambulance carrying the body of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, from his home to his father's home, Tunis, Feb. 7, 2013.
  • A woman cries over the coffin of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, in Tunis, Feb. 7, 2013.
  • Protesters gather on Tunis 'main avenue after a Tunisian opposition leader critical of the Islamist-led government was gunned down as he left home, Feb.6, 2013.
  • A protester gestures to police during clashes in Tunis, Feb. 6, 2013.
  • The body of Chokri Belaid, a prominent Tunisian opposition politician, is carried into an ambulance after he was shot, in Tunis Feb. 6, 2013.
  • Basma Chokri, the wife of assassinated prominent Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid, mourns in Tunis Feb. 6, 2013.

But some demonstrators at the funeral held banners labeling Ennahda assassins.

Business executive Reima Chtioui said that even if Ennahda is not directly responsible for Belaid's death, it is partly responsible because it allowed violence to escalate in recent months.

Belaid's death marks a worrying turn for this North African nation once heralded as a possible model for Arab democracy. Trade unions also declared a national strike on Friday.

The country's rising violence was underscored at the end of the funeral ceremony, as police lobbed tear gas and clashed with protesters outside the walls of the cemetery. People attending the funeral fled, with scarves wrapped around their faces. Unrest also was reported elsewhere in Tunisia on Friday.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hatem Zaki from: Egypt
February 08, 2013 1:16 PM
who is next? in Libya they murdered the minister of defense ,in Tunisia they assassinated Belaid .but who are they ? of course there are invisible hand try to spread chaos in the Arab spring countries .these countries are at stake .the Islamist-secularist conflict will lead to nothing but civil war .they must put off their false consciousness

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid