Tunisians protest Islamist counter-revolution

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced that he will dissolve the Islamist-led administration and form a new “technocrat government” as protests rocked the country Feb. 6 following the slaying of opposition leader Chokri Belaid. The headquarters of the Ennahda party, which rules in a fractious coalition with secularists, was set ablaze as Belaid’s body was taken by ambulance through Tunis from the hospital where he died. Police fired tear-gas on some 20,000 protesters at the Interior Ministry, who chanted for the fall of the government. Despite calls for calm from the administration, thousands also took to the streets in Mahdia, Sousse, Monastir and Sidi Bouzid—the cradle of the revolution, where police fired tear-gas and warning shots as protesters set cars and a police station on fire.

Shokri Belaid was shot in front of his home in Tunis. He was leader of the center-left Democratic Patriots party, and the nine-party Popular Front bloc that has three seats in the constituent assembly, now acting as parliament and writing the new post-revolution charter. Other opposition parties have some 90 seats in the body, while Ennahda’s ruling coalition has some 120 seats. (Middle East Online, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, Feb. 6)