[Bandar Bush is an international war criminal, posing as the head of Saudi intelligence. He murders and kidnaps freely across all borders, sponsoring terrorist “Islamist” armies throughout the region, for the purpose of disrupting international order (SEE: Bandar Organizes Betrayal of SNC, Prepares American Al-CIA-da/al Nusra Offensive from Jordan ). International authorities must bring this criminal Saudi royal to justice and attempt to undo the damage that he has done.]
Assassination of Mohamed Brahmi Heightens Calls for Ouster of Government
Protesters in downtown Tunis call for overthrow of government after the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi on July 25, 2013. Photo credit: Youssef Gaigi, Tunisia Live
The murder follows the death of Chokri Belaid, whose assassination in February threw the country into political turmoil and led to the restructuring of the Tunisian government.
Brahmi’s party is part of the opposition Popular Front coalition, which also includes the late Belaid’s party.
Reported details of the killing were strikingly similar to the circumstances of Belaid’s death. Brahmi was described as being shot by a pair of assassins traveling on a motorbike, as was the case with Belaid. Both men were reportedly killed in front of their houses while in their cars.
Other details appeared even grimmer than the Belaid killing. A source at the hospital confirmed that he was shot 11 times, while reports from the BBC and other sources stated that his wife and two children witnessed the murder.
Brahmi’s daughter told radio station Mosaique FM that her father received a phone call, left the house, and was then shot.
“He died a martyr to his opinion and passion,” his wife told the radio station.
Brahmi’s murder comes at a precarious time in Tunisia’s post-revolutionary transition, as major opposition parties and activist groups have called for the dissolution of the Islamist-led government and the assembly. Heated debates have occurred in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) in recent weeks over articles in the draft constitution being considered by the parliament.
As news of Brahmi’s death emerged shortly after noon, protesters began to gather in downtown Tunis. At first, some clashed with police and were dispersed with tear gas.
After the initial clashes, several hundred protesters remained downtown and gathered before the Ministry of Interior building, many chanting slogans calling for the dissolution of the government and placing onus for the crime on Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the ruling Islamist Ennahdha party. Members of the Popular Front coalition called for civil disobedience and chanted “degage,” French for “leave,” a slogan that prevailed during the protests that led to the January 2011 revolution.
Protesters told Tunsia Live they plan to walk from downtown Tunis to the NCA building in the suburb of Bardo around 9 p.m. and will hold a sit-in there until the parliament is dissolved.
In Brahmi’s hometown of Sidi Bouzid, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the afternoon, demanding the resignation of the government and burning two Ennahdha buildings. The town is often referred to as the birthplace of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution. It was there that a struggling street vendor mistreated by government officials self-immolated, the news of which inspired mass protests that eventually led to the departure of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Brahmi represented the Sidi Bouzid governorate in the NCA.
In the city of Sfax, demonstrators tried to enter the municipal government building but were prevented from doing so by the police, journalist Sihem Chouour told Tunisia Live.
Protests have also taken place in Monastir.
NCA Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar announced this afternoon that there will be greater protection offered to political figures and that tomorrow would be a national day of mourning.
The largest labor union in Tunisia, the UGTT, announced on its Facebook page that a general strike would be called on Friday.
The Ennahdha party issued a statement asserting that the assassination was meant to derail the country’s democratic transition.
“Those who treacherously shot Mohamed Brahmi wanted to target the entire democratic process and push the country into a cycle of violence and chaos,” their release stated.
“We call on the government and the interior ministry to urgently arrest those who committed this crime and reveal those behind them who have targeted the stability of the country,” said the party’s influential president, Rached Ghannouchi in his own statement.
“Political assassinations happen in the most democratic places in the world, and even in the United States,” Ghannouchi later told Shems FM.
Beji Caid Essebsi, leader and presidential candidate of Nidaa Tounes, a major opposition party, told France 24 that any outspoken critic of the government was now a potential target, adding that the series of assassinations was unprecedented in Tunisia.
Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, leader of the opposition al-Joumhouri party, called for the dissolution of the current government in an interview with Mosaique FM, saying that Brahmi’s assassination was the “coup de grace,” or death blow, to the country’s democratic transition.
He asserted that the government is responsible for Brahmi’s murder because it did not make necessary efforts to deal with violence and terrorism. Chebbi called for a “national salvation” government to restore stability and prepare for upcoming elections.
The Tamarod Tunisia movement, an activist group that has sought to recreate the success of its Egyptian namesake by dissolving the Tunisian government, issued a call to action following the murder.
“Tamarod announces its confrontation with this failed government that has caused another national catastrophe. Hitting the streets is the solution,” the group stated on its Facebook page. “Youth of Tamarod in every governorate will go to the streets until this government falls and will not remain silent.
Abu Yaareb Marzouki, a political analyst and former government official with ties to the Ennahdha party, rejected allegations that Ennahdha was involved in the murder, asserting that it would not make sense for it to do so.
“Now Ennahda and even the political parties from the left need to be united because the killer is not Ennahdha,” he assessed. “It’s someone from the former regime who wants to destabilize the country and lead it into chaos. They want people from the left to think they are targeted by the Islamists, but this could not be possible because any political party that wants to win the elections would not do it.”
“As for what happens tomorrow, it is perfectly understandable as long as it’s peaceful,” Marzouki added. “If it’s violent, however, then it is unacceptable.”