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France closes schools after opposition leader killed in Tunisia


PARIS, Feb 8 – France has ordered its 10 schools throughout Tunisia to be closed and called on expatriates to remain vigilant after Tunisian main opposition leader Chokri Belaid was assassinated on Wednesday.
The French Embassy in Tunisia said the schools will be closed on Friday and Saturday over concerns of escalating violence following Belaid’s death, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Foreign Ministry also recommended it citizens to avoid any demonstrations in high-risk areas. Chokri Belaid, secretary-general of the leftist Democratic Patriots Party, was shot dead in his head and neck outside his home on Wednesday.

The assassination, the first in Tunis since former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in early 2011, triggered massive demonstartions across the country.

2013-02-07T052325Z_1_AJOE9160EZ400_RTROPTP_2_OZATP-TUNISIA-POLITICS-20130207Meanwhile, local media said Tunisian ruling Ennahdha party on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s decision to set up a new technocrat cabinet following Belaid’s assassination.

Reports said that even if Jebali remains as Ennahdha’s general-secretary, his position will be weakened by his party’s refusal to leave the government. On Wednesday, Jebali said he would dissolve the current government and
appoint a new one composed of independent technocrats who would be excluded from running in the next legislative elections in October.

Jebali said the decision was made to “put an end to the state of political tension and ensure the success of what remains of the democratic transition.”