TUNIS: A prominent Tunisian opposition politician Shokri Belaid was killed outside his home on Wednesday, prompting hundreds of Tunisians to protest in front of the Interior Ministry.
President Moncef Marzouki cut short a visit to France and canceled a trip to Egypt scheduled for Thursday after the killing, which triggered 1,000 protesters onto the streets outside the Interior Ministry.
Chanting for the fall of the Islamist-led government, demonstrators shouted “Shame, shame Chokri died”, “Where is the government?”, and “The government should fall”.
“The murder of Belaid is a political assassination and the assassination of the Tunisian revolution. By killing him they wanted to silence his voice,” said the prime minister, Hamadi Jebali, who heads the Ennahda party-led government, which won Tunisia’s first post-Arab spring election in 2011.
Belaid, who was a leader of the Unified Democratic Nationalist party, died in hospital shortly after being shot in the capital Tunis.
“Shokri Belaid was killed today by four bullets to the head and chest … doctors told us that he has died. This is a sad day for Tunisia,” Ziad Lakhader, a leader of the Popular Front, said.