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Thousands attend Belaid funeral amid Tunisia strike

Thousands attend Belaid funeral amid Tunisia strike
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Thousands of mourners have turned out in Tunis for the funeral of the assassinated opposition politician Chokri Belaid, amid a general strike in protest at the murder.

His supporters chanted slogans attacking the Ennahda party they blame for Wednesday’s killing, and they vowed to continue the struggle against the ruling Islamists.

Tunisia is riven by tensions between Islamists and their secular opponents, and Belaid’s death has deepened the political chaos. No-one has claimed responsibility for the murder and Ennahda denies carrying it out.

The capital has been gripped by only the third national strike in the country’s history, called in protest at the killing.

Streets have been quiet, with banks, shops and offices closed in response to the unions’ call. Buses have been running normally but some flights have been suspended.

Some people, interviewed by Euronews in Tunis, said they were against the stoppage.

“This strike is going to worsen the economic problems of the country which is already in crisis. I don’t think in Europe, America or anywhere else in the world, that when a political leader dies people go on strike,” said one man.

“I’m against the strike because as you can see the town is a desert, that gives a chance for thieves, rioters and bandits to attack shops and rob people. Almost everyone has stayed at home, closed their doors and are holed up inside,” a young woman added.

Hundreds of anti-riot police have been deployed in Habib Bourguiba Avenue, a flashpoint for anti-government protests in Tunis, amid fears of more violence.

Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali has promised a non-partisan technocrat government but it has done little to defuse instability and tension.