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Launch of Tunisia crisis talks hangs in balance

The launch of a hard-won dialogue between Tunisia's ruling Islamists and the opposition to end a protracted political crisis was in jeopardy Saturday because of a last-minute dispute, delegates said. The dispute emerged as delegates started to gather at the Palais des Congres for a symbolic ceremony during which the ruling Ennahda movement was to declare its readiness to resign. Ennahda and the opposition were also due to pledge allegiance to a roadmap on Tunisia's political future at Saturday's meeting, with talks between the two sides due to begin in earnest next week.

Tunisia Islamists say ready to compromise to end crisis

Tunisia's ruling Islamist party indicated Thursday it was ready to negotiate with the opposition on the formation of an apolitical government, in order to end a month-long political crisis. The announcement of what would be a key concession that Ennahda has until now resisted came after its leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, met Houcine Abassi, the secretary general of the powerful UGTT union, which has been mediating between the rival factions.

Top Tunisian opposition figure shot dead

A leading opposition figure and critic of Tunisia's ruling Islamists, Mohamed Brahmi, was shot dead outside his home near the capital on Thursday in the second such assassination this year. The murder by unknown gunmen sparked angry street protests in central Tunis and Brahmi's birthplace of Sidi Bouzid where he served as MP, AFP correspondents said. "Mohamed Brahmi, general coordinator of the Popular Movement and member of the National Constituent Assembly, was shot dead outside his home in Ariana," Watanya state television and the official TAP news agency reported.

Tunisia publishes images of suspects in secular leader's killing

TUNIS (Reuters) - The Tunisian government on Saturday published the names and photographs of five people it said were suspected of involvement in the February assassination of a secular politician and asked citizens to help track them down. The killing of Chokri Belaid on February 6 provoked the worst unrest in the North African state since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago that launched the Arab Spring wave of popular uprisings.

Tunisian police clash with hardline Islamists, one killed

By Tarek Amara Tunis (Reuters) - Police fired on Islamists attacking a police station in a southern Tunisian town, killing one person, a security source said, in the latest incident to raise religious tensions in the North African country. Hundreds of Salafists - followers of a puritanical interpretation of Islam - protested in front of the police station in Hergla on Thursday after officers arrested some of their comrades who had attacked alcohol sellers in the city, police and witnesses said.

Tunisian Islamists rally in show of strength

* Rally comes day after funeral of opposition leader * Demonstration dwarfed by Friday's against Islamists * Tunisia rebukes French minister for comments By Tarek Amara and Alistair Lyon TUNIS, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Thousands of Islamists marched in Tunis on Saturday in a show of strength a day after the funeral of an assassinated secular politician drew the biggest crowds seen on the streets since Tunisia's uprising two years ago.

Clashes as tens of thousands mourn Tunisia politician

Police fired tear gas and clashed with protesters on Friday as tens of thousands joined the funeral of opposition leader Chokri Belaid whose murder plunged Tunisia into new post-revolt turmoil. Skirmishes erupted on the margins of the funeral procession which turned into a demonstration in Tunis, a city paralysed by a general strike called in protest at Wednesday's assassination of the leftist leader. The interior ministry said 132 people were arrested and estimated the size of the funeral crowd at 40,000.

Tunisia Salafist chief warns Ennahda against compromise

A wanted Tunisian Salafist leader has urged the ruling Islamists against making concessions to secular parties, warning that to do so would be "political suicide," a US-based monitoring group said on Friday. "We stress this to the Ennahda movement... that conceding and prostrating in such a decisive moment in our country's history will be political suicide," said Abu Iyadh, who heads the radical Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia.

Ruling Islamists split over deepening Tunisia crisis

Tunisia's ruling Islamists Thursday rejected plans by the premier to form a government of technocrats while the main trade union called a general strike amid renewed unrest, deepening a crisis sparked by the killing of an opposition leader. With tensions running high since the murder Wednesday of a leftist opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, clashes between police and protesters broke out in the capital and in a central town, AFP correspondents said.

Ruling Islamists split over deepening Tunisia crisis

Tunisia's ruling Islamists Thursday rejected plans by the premier to form a government of technocrats while the main trade union called a general strike amid renewed unrest, deepening a crisis sparked by the killing of an opposition leader. With tensions running high since the murder Wednesday of a leftist opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, clashes between police and protesters broke out in the capital and in a central town, AFP correspondents said.
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