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4 Tunisian opposition parties quit assembly, call for strike

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People remove fences and barbed wire during a protest rally outside Interior Ministry against the killing of Tunisian opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, in Tunis, on February 6, 2013.

Four Tunisian opposition parties have quit the country’s constituent assembly, calling for a nationwide strike following murder of the leading opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

Report say that the political parties which resigned from the assembly include the Republican Party, Call of Tunisia, Al-Massar and the Popular Front.

According to Popular Front spokesman Hamma Hammami, the oppositions also called for a general strike.

The leader of the Republican Party also issued a statement saying that “We demand the departure of the interior minister …The interior minister holds personal responsibility for the assassination of Chokri Belaid, because he knew he was threatened and he did nothing.”

This comes after Tunisia’s leading leftist opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, was shot dead, after leaving his home in the capital.

Thousands of Tunisians reportedly poured in to the streets across the North African country on Wednesday to condemn the murder of Belaid. Police also used tear gas to disperse the protesters.

According to Belaid’s family, the head of the opposition Democratic Patriots party who was a harsh critic of the government was hit by two bullets.

Soon after the death, the country’s Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali denounced the act, saying “This is a criminal act, an act of terrorism not only against Belaid but against the whole of Tunisia.”

Tunisia is witnessing an increase in violence, as the country has been under a state of emergency since January 14, 2011, when Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after days of street protests that put an end to his 23-year rule.

Riots and protests broke out in Tunisia after a 26-year-old fruit vendor, identified as Muhammad Bouazizi, set himself on fire when police confiscated his merchandise.

Ben Ali’s regime was accused of widespread corruption as his relatives controlled much of the business sector in the country.


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