Don't lose focus, Tunisia told

LONDON, July 26 (UPI) -- The assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi should not derail political progress made since its revolution, the British government said.

A protest suicide in December 2010 sparked the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, ousting the country's longtime President Zine el-Abidine ben Ali and launching a series of regional revolutions dubbed the Arab Spring.


Brahmi was the leader of the People's Party, opposed to Islamist political party Ennahda, which came to power following the revolution.

Demonstrations erupted in the wake of Brahmi's assassination at his home in Aryanah, near Tunis. British Minister for Africa Alistair Burt pleaded for calm Friday, saying the assassination should not derail Tunisia's political progress.

"It is vital that the people's demands for democracy remain at the core of the country's transition at this crucial time," he said in a statement.

The Ennahda-led government said it would conduct an investigation into the Thursday assassination.

Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, said a commitment to democratic principles was the best answer to Brahmi's assassination.

"It is now for the political parties of the government and the opposition as well as for the civil society of Tunisia committed to democratic values to find the necessary compromises in a spirit of consensus, tolerance and mutual respect," she said in a statement.


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