NPR : News

Assassination Of Opposition Figure Leads To Protests In Tunisia

The birthplace of the Arab Spring is seized with mass protests today: Tunisians took to the streets to denounce the assassination of Chokri Belaid, the country's leading opposition figure.

As the BBC reports, Belaid was the secular opponent of the moderate Islamist government and he "was shot in the neck and head on his way to work" Wednesday morning.

CNN reports:

"The killing of Belaid, 48, has shocked the nation. Police had fired on protesters, killing some of them, during the Arab Spring uprising, which originated in Tunisia in December 2010. But the targeted slaying of a politician crossed a new line.

"Video showed outraged protesters filling the Avenue Habib Bourguiba for the opposition leader's funeral procession and pouring into the streets of other Tunisian cities. Some of them revived the iconic slogan of their revolution, crying: 'The people want to topple the regime.'"

Al Jazeera reports that Belaid had been critical of ultraconservatives who have attacked mausoleums and art exhibits they believe are against Islamic law. The government denounced the killing.

"Belaid was killed, but the real target behind the assassination is the Tunisian revolution as a whole," Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali during a televised address. "He represented the true values of dialogue, respecting and embracing others in rejecting violence. This is a political assassination."

Al Jazeera reports that on the street, demonstrators accused their government of being impotent. Al Jazeera adds:

"Omar bin Ali, a member of the Tunisian Trade Unions, was present at the demonstration site and said 'the Islamists were responsible for Belaid's death.'

"'This is what they have been calling for in mosques,' Bin Ali told Al Jazeera's Ahmed Janabi outside of the ministry.

"Ruling out the possibility of external factors, Bin Ali said 'Tunisia is a friend of all nations. It is hard to think of anyone from abroad to do this to us,' adding that 'the people want the whole government out as they proved to be useless.'"

Update at 2:23 p.m. ET. Prime Minister Dissolving Government:

The Tunisian prime minister has announced that he will dissolve the parliament and form a technocrat government. Reuters reports:

"'After the failure of negotiations between parties on a cabinet reshuffle, I decided to form a small technocrat government,' Jebali said in a speech to the nation.

"He said the ministers would not run for office but elections would subsequently be held as soon as possible."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Exhibit Shows Dolores Huerta's Life As Part Of The 'Backbone' Of America

The exhibit about the United Farm Workers activist is the first in the National Portrait Gallery's "One Life" series to be devoted to a Latina.

NPR

Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
WAMU 88.5

Cutting Local Taxes in The District

The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.

NPR

Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.