A man was killed in violent overnight protests and a car bomb exploded in the Tunisian capital yesterday, shortly before the funeral of an assassinated politician.
The death of secular opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi, gunned down outside his Tunis home on Thursday, has heightened tensions in the North African country and turned up the pressure on its rulers.
Witnesses said one man was killed early on Saturday in an anti-government protest in the southern city of Gafsa. Violence also broke out in several other cities.
A bomb in a police car exploded in Tunis but caused no casualties, a spokesman at the Interior Ministry said.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of Brahmi’s home in the suburb of Gazella, waving pictures of him and chanting anti-government slogans ahead of the funeral, which was starting at 9 GMT.
The funeral procession was to walk down the main street of the capital, near the Interior Ministry. Hundreds of police deployed in anticipation of violence.
Brahmi’s family has accused the main Ennahda party of being behind the killing. Its leader, Rached Ghannouchi, has denounced the assassination as an attack on democracy.
Late on Friday, 42 opposition members announced their resignation from the 217-seat Constituent Assembly to protest against the killing of Brahmi, a member of the Arab nationalist Popular Front party.
Khamis Kssila of the Nida Touns party said the departing members would begin a sit-in to demand the dissolution of the assembly and formation of a national salvation government — ideas rejected by Prime Minister Ali Larayedh.