A PROMINENT Tunisian opposition politician was shot dead outside his home on Wednesday, in a killing the prime minister condemned as a political assassination and a strike against the “Arab Spring” revolution.
Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said the identity of the killer of Shokri Belaid, a staunch secular opponent of the Islamist-led government, was unknown.
President Moncef Marzouki cut short a visit to France and cancelled a visit to Egypt scheduled for Thursday after the killing, which brought around 1,000 protesters onto the streets.
“The murder of Belaid is a political assassination and the assassination of the Tunisian revolution. By killing him they wanted to silence his voice,” said Jebali, who heads the government led by the Nahda Party, which won Tunisia’s first post-Arab Spring election in 2011.
Belaid, who died in hospital after being shot in the capital Tunis, was a leading member of the opposition Popular Front Party.
“Shokri Belaid was killed today by four bullets to the head and chest... doctors told us that he has died. This is a sad day for Tunisia,” Ziad Lakhader, a leader of the Popular Front, told Reuters.
Protesters gathered outside the Interior Ministry and chanted against the Islamist-led government calling for its fall.
“Shame, shame Shokri died”, “Where is the government?” and “The government should fall”.
Security forces cordoned off the area.