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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Video of Protests Across Tunisia After an Opposition Leader Is Gunned Down

Video a protest outside the interior ministry in Tunis on Wednesday from the blog Nawaat.

As my colleagues Kareem Fahim and Gerry Mullany report, there were protests across Tunisia on Wednesday following the assassination of Chokri Belaid, a leader of the secular opposition.

Video shot by activist bloggers for the independent Tunisian site Nawaat showed protesters rallying outside the interior ministry on the tree-lined Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis early in the day, and then being chased from the street by police officers who fired tear gas into the crowd and beat dmonstrators.

The Tunisian blog Nawaat’s video of police officers attacking protesters in Tunis on Wednesday.

After the avenue was cleared, witnesses reported that a small crowd accompanied the ambulance carrying Mr. Belaid’s body down the same street.

As news of the assassination spread, there were protests in other cities and reports of attacks on the offces of Ennahda, the ruling Islamist party. Mr. Belaid had criticized Ennahda’s leaders for failing to condemn violent attacks on his party’s activists by young Islamists, in a television appearance shortly before his death, the French radio station Europe 1 reported.

Agence France-Presse video showed protesters marching in Sidi Bouzid, the town where the Tunisian revolt began.

More video of the demonstration in Tunis, and a clip of protesters occupying the headquarters of Ennahda in the city of Sfax, was posted online by Jadal, a Tunisian news site set up by the Institute for Peace and War Reporting.

Video from the Tunisian news site Jadal, said to show protesters occupying the offices of the ruling party in Sfax on Wednesday.

A demonstration outside the office of Ennahda in the coastal city of Mahdia was caught on video by a Nawaat blogger.

Before the demonstration at the interior ministry was attacked by the police, activists in the crowd posted updates on the protest on Twitter.

Among the chants, witnesses reported, were calls for the resignation of the interior minister, Ali Larayedh, a leader of Ennahda who is a former dissident.

Mr. Larayedh called the assassination of Mr. Belaid a “terrorist act” and “a blow to the democratic transition experience in Tunisia,” the state news agency reported.

Oe member of the crowd was Amira Yahyaoui, the president of the rights organization Al Bawsala, who suggested that Tunisians ad waited long enough for real reform of the hated police force that has allowed such political violence to escalate. After Mr. Balaid’s death, she wrote, it was “necessary to go inside the interior ministry and clear out the incompetents and, worse, the facilitators.”