8 February 2013

Tunisia Mourns Chokri Belaid

Thousands took to the streets of Tunisia's capital on Friday (February 8th) for the funeral of slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid. President Moncef Marzouki called a national day of mourning for the Unified Democratic Patriots Party (PPDU) leader gunned down outside his home on Wednesday, Tunisia Live reported.

The funeral procession will begin in the Tunis suburb of Djebel Jelloud. A military vehicle will carry Belaid's body to El Jallaz cemetery, where he will be buried in Martyr's Square.

As the general strike called by the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) to coincide with the funeral took effect, the city's international airport shut down. The strike is expected to be the biggest since January 14, 2011.

The interior ministry called on Tunisians "under the exceptional circumstances facing the country, to respect the right to work, the right to strike and to avoid anything that could undermine public security".

In an effort to stem the violence that erupted in the wake of Belaid's assassination, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali proposed a new Tunisia government. President Moncef Marzouki also expressed support for the formation of a national unity government, spokesman Adnen Mansar said Thursday.

A bloc within the ruling Islamist Ennahda party has rejected the move.

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