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Tunisia calls for pro-government rally

  |   Feb. 9, 2013 at 12:32 PM
TUNIS, Tunisia, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said he would form a new government, as demonstrators rallied Saturday in support of the ruling Islamist party.

The ruling Ennahda party ordered supporters to rally in support of the government after huge crowds turned out Friday for the funeral of a slain opposition leader, the BBC reported.

In a post on its Facebook page, Ennahda said the rally in the center of the capital, Tunis, would defend the legitimacy of the national assembly and fight against violence.

Opposition supporters have blamed Ennahda for the shooting death Wednesday of Chokri Belaid, a secular anti-Islamist political figure who had accused a faction inside the party of fomenting attacks against the opposition.

At the cemetery where Belaid's funeral was held, cars were torched and protesters were met with tear gas fired by police. A general strike shut shops and most public transport.

Jebali said he would replace the government with a cabinet of technocrats and call early elections, and offered to resign if his efforts do not succeed, the BBC said, citing Tunisian media reports.

Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi said the current cabinet should stay.

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