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Assassination of Tunisian opposition leader sparks protests

TUNIS, Tunisia — Angry anti-government demonstrations broke out Thursday across Tunisia after gunmen killed the leader of a leftist opposition party, raising fears of new chaos on the difficult road to democracy in the cradle of the Arab Spring.

Just five months after a similar assassination plunged the country into crisis, two gunmen shot Mohammed Brahmi, a leader in the Popular Front coalition, in his car outside his home.

Tunisia is struggling after overthrowing dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. Many Tunisians are fed up with the government led by the moderate Islamist ruling party, Ennahda, which appears unable to handle a faltering economy, address popular unrest over unmet expectations and crack down on a rising extremist Islamist movement.

Protesters blamed the latest killing on the government. Soon after news broke, crowds gathered outside the Interior Ministry calling for its downfall.

There were also demonstrations across the country, including in Sidi Bouzid, Brahmi's impoverished hometown and the birthplace of the country's revolution. Crowds in the nearby town of Meknassi burned down the local headquarters of Ennahda.

Large anti-government protests are expected today.

Assassination of Tunisian opposition leader sparks protests 07/25/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 10:56pm]
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