Wednesday Aug 07, 201305:04 AM GMT
Thousands of Tunisians call for government resignation
Tunisian people with flags chant slogans in front of the National Constituent Assembly on August 6, 2013 in Tunis.
Tunisian people with flags chant slogans in front of the National Constituent Assembly on August 6, 2013 in Tunis.
Wed Aug 7, 2013 5:1AM
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Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, to call for the resignation of the government and the dissolution of the transitional constituent assembly.

The demonstration came on Tuesday with a police official estimating that at least 40,000 people gathered in the capital’s Bardo Square. Opposition leaders reportedly said some 100,000-200,000 took part in the protest.

It is the largest demonstration in the North African country since its political crisis began two weeks ago over the murder of the leader of the left-wing Popular Movement Party, Mohamed Brahmi.

The protest also marked the six-month anniversary of the assassination of leftist politician Chokri Belaid.

During the event, protesters carrying pictures of Brahmi and Belaid shouted anti-government slogans, such as "The people want the regime to fall" and "The government will end today."

Meanwhile, the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), which is tasked with drafting a new constitution and electoral law, suspended its work on Tuesday until the government and opposition begin talks to end the country’s political crisis.

The leader of the ruling Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi, told Tunisia’s French-Language daily La Presse that the government would not step down under pressure from the opposition.

He criticized the “excessive demands” for the resignation of the “elected government” in the post-revolution country.

“Unfortunately every time a tragedy hits us, we immediately call for the dissolution of the government and parliament," Ghannouchi added.

Tunisia has been grappled by political instability and insecurity since the fall of former dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011.

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