With Assassination Of Mohammed Brahmi, the Arab Spring Has Finally Come Full Circle
Tunisia has been thrown back into turmoil with the second assassination this year of a prominent political figure. Mohammed Brahmi was a leader within the secular Arab nationalist Popular Front party, whose then-leader Chokri Belaid was assassinated in February. The February assassination sparked the worst violence Tunisia had seen since President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in 2011.
Reports have stated that Brahmi was struck by 11 bullets in front of his wife and daughter Thursday morning. In response, supporters have taken to the streets demonstrating in front of the ruling Ennahda Party's headquarters as well as the Ministry of Interior in Tunis, demanding that the government resign. Tunisia's prime minister said Mr Brahmi's murder was aimed at taking advantage of the recent uprisings in Egypt, where President Mohamed Morsi was recently ousted after mass protests against him and his ruling Muslim Brotherhood. Since the ousting of Morsi protest movements have gained newfound inspiration in Tunisia, calling for the overthrow of the predominantly Islamist government and claiming that they have hijacked the 2011 revolution.
Brahmi and the Popular Front party were known for being outspoken against the Islamist Ennahda party, whom Brahmi's family is accussing of being behind the assassination. The killing comes as Tunisia celebrates its 56th anniversary of independence from France. Brahmi was a member of the Constituent Assembly which has drafted a new constitution for the Tunisian government that is to be voted on by the country in the coming weeks.
As the police continue to fire teargas onto protesters and businesses call for a general strike, it appears that the Arab Spring has come full circle to the very place where it was birthed. Tunisia inspired the entire Arab world to reject hard-line Islamist thinking, yet Tunisia is learning that democracy comes at a price. As the weeks progress one can only hope that the current unrest passes as quickly as it did in 2011.