Protests follow Tunisian opposition assassination

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Protests follow Tunisian opposition assassination

Protests follow Tunisian opposition assassination
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There have been angry scenes in Tunisian cities after an outspoken opponent of the government was shot and killed.

An estimated 20,000 people gathered outside the Interior Ministry in the capital Tunis calling for the administration to go.

Protesters accompanied the ambulance that took Chokra Belaid’s body from the hospital where he died to the mortuary.

He was a secular leader who had fiercely criticised the government’s dealings with radical Islamists.

Many demonstrators blamed the moderate Islamist Ennahda party for the assassination.

Ennahda, which is leading a volatile coalition with secularists, denied any involvement in the killing.

Tunisia sparked the Arab Spring two years ago – its Jasmine Revolution that overthrew President Ben Ali was the first of a wave to sweep the region.

Opponents who campaigned for freedom when their countries were ruled by dictators feel that their revolutions have been hijacked by Islamists.

Chokra Belaid was gunned down outside his home in Tunis by attackers who escaped on a motorbike.

He had accused the government of being puppets of the wealthy Gulf State of Qatar.

The opposition have called a general strike to coincide with his funeral.