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Fri Aug 22 09:54:29 SAST 2014

Tunisia, in crisis, girds for new chaos at funeral

Sapa-AP | 08 February, 2013 11:09
Protesters take part in a demonstration in Gafsa February 7, 2013. Police fired teargas to scatter protesters near the Interior Ministry in Tunis and stone-throwing youths in the southern mining town of Gafsa, where at least seven were injured, as unrest erupted over the killing of secular politician Chokri Belaid.
Image by: STRINGER / REUTERS

The funeral for a leading leftist politician assassinated in Tunisia is expected to draw waves of mourners, and many fear that a national strike the same day could touch off riots nationwide in the country that started the Arab Spring.

The family and allies of Chokri Belaid accuse the ruling part of complicity in his Wednesday killing, and although they have offered no proof the allegations have sharply raised tensions ahead of Friday's funeral. The country's main labor union has called a general strike for the first time in 35 years, raising fears of nationwide confrontations.

Tunisia's prime minister offered to replace the government after Belaid's killing, but that attempt may have backfired as his own ruling Islamist part rejected his decision.

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Fri Aug 22 09:54:29 SAST 2014 ::