Tunisians mark political killing of Chokri Belaid | News | DW | 16.03.2013
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Tunisians mark political killing of Chokri Belaid

Thousands of Tunisians have demonstrated in the capital to mark 40 days since the assassination of a leftist leader threw the country into crisis. Many carried banners, demanding to know 'Who killed Chokri Belaid?'

Saturday's demonstration was the biggest since 48-year-old Belaid, leader of the popular Leftist Front and a critic of the ruling Ennahda party, was killed outside his house on February 6. Many called on Saturday for Ennahda to quit, blaming the party for his death.

The crowd, which included Belaid's widow Basma and opposition political leaders, chanted slogans against Ennahda and its chief, Rached Ghannouchi. The slogans including "Killer Ghannouchi" and "the people are convinced Ghannouchi killed Belaid."

Ennahda has denied being behind his assassination. Several arrests have been made over the case, but the suspected killer remains at large.

Death sparks political crisis

Tunisia's first political assassination in a decade sparked three days of anti-government protests.

His murder plunged Tunisia into further political crisis, two years after the beginning of the uprising that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, sparking the so-called Arab Spring across the Mideast.

Following Belaid's death, Islamist Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali was forced to resign, after his attempt to form a government of technocrats to lead the country until fresh elections was rejected by the ruling Ennahda party.

Last week, a new government headed by former Interior Minister Ali Larayedh, also of Ennahda, was sworn in. The coalition with center-left Ettakatol and the secular Congress for the Republic party is expected only to serve until a new election is held before the end of the year.

At the time, Larayedh said the new cabinet would work "to the end of 2013 at the latest," assuming a new constitution was adopted and legislative and presidential elections were held in the meantime.

jr/jlw (AFP, AP, Reuters)