The killing of a prominent Tunisian opposition politician on Thursday sparked protests in the country, Al-Jazeera reported.
Mohamed Brahmi, an opposition lawmaker who has publicly voiced his approval for the Egyptian army’s deposing of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, was shot dead outside his house in Ariana. Brahmi was shot in the head 11 times, according to Tunisia Live.
“He was riddled with bullets in front of his wife and children,” Mohsen Nabti, a fellow member of the small leftist movement, was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
Thousands took to the streets on Thursday afternoon and clashed with police outside the interior ministry headquarters when the news was made public. Police fired teargas when protestors attempted to set up tents for a sit-in. Tear gas was also used to disperse protesters in the country’s second largest city of Sfax.
All flights to and from Tunisia have been cancelled over a general strike announced by the country’s largest labor organization UGTT, the civil aviation authority said.
Friday was declared the day of nationwide mourning.
Brahmi’s sister Souhiba accused the main Tunisian Islamist party, Ennahda, of being behind the killing, Al-Jazeera said. Ennahda strongly denied the accusations, with its leader saying the assassination was aimed at “halting Tunisia’s democratic process and killing the only successful model in the region, especially after the violence in Egypt, Syria and Libya,” Agence France-Presse reported.
Brahmi’s wife, speaking to the country’s Mosaique FM station, said her husband “was killed by a terrorist gang.”
This is the second assassination in Tunisia in six months, after the killing of Chokri Belaid. Belaid, a fierce opponent of Tunisia’s ruling Islamists, was gunned down outside his home in early February. Belaid was a member of the same opposition coalition is Brahmi.