Tunisia Assassination: High-Profile Pol Shot 11 Times, Protests Break Out

An apparent Tunisia assassination drew thousands of protesters to the country’s capital Thursday, causing many to wonder whether or not the situation will devolve into Egypt-esque chaos.

Mohamed Brahmi, a 58-year-old member of parliament and high-profile critic of the ruling Islamist Ennahda Party, was shot 11 times outside of his house on Thursday morning. His colleague told local media outlets that he was murdered in front of his wife and children.

Following the shocking assassination, thousands took to the streets in protest, many of them chanting “Down with the rule of the Islamists.”

Fallout from the Tunisia assassination has been widespread. In Brahmi’s hometown of Sidi Bouzid, residents burned tired to block roads. The country’s largest trade union, UGTT, called for a general strike in reaction to the assassination.

Thousands gathered in the capital and other cities, and the headquarters for Nahda, the dominant Islamist party, was set on fire.

Various civil rights groups are demanding an explanation, and some warn that the country’s democratic transition may be in jeopardy.

Part of the reason that Brahmi’s assassination has caused such protest is that many Tunisians are still angry over the death of Chokri Belaid, another popular opposition pol who was assassinated on February 6.

Islamists in charge of the new democracy have been accused of making friends with hardline extremists in recent months. Secular pols like Brahmi and Belaid have protested this very openly, and since there have been no indictments for either of their murders, Tunisians are starting to wonder if the country’s ruling party is in some way complicit in their deaths.

“Little has been done by the authorities to ensure that reported attacks against members of the opposition are adequately investigated and those responsible are brought to justice, fueling a climate of impunity and increasing political polarization,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy program director at Amnesty International.

We’ll keep an eye on events surrounding the latest Tunisia assassination and keep you up to date on how events unfold in the troubled country.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]