TUNIS: A statue erected in honor of murdered Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid was found at night vandalized and broken into three pieces, an AFP correspondent said Monday.
Installed as a work of contemporary art by Tunisian artists, the memorial was torn from its base and broken, and the flowers surrounding it were trampled and scattered.
“This is a criminal act,” said Besma Khalfaoui, Belaid’s widow. Belaid was gunned down in broad daylight on Feb. 6.
“Those who did this are inhuman. They have exceeded all limits,” Khalfaoui added. “It is the minister of interior [Ali Larayedh] who is responsible for this.”
Khalfaoui said she had demanded police protection for her family and home but so far had not obtained it.
A leftist leader and fierce critic of Tunisia’s ruling Islamist-led government, Belaid was shot dead by a gunman as he left his home.
His murder sparked a public outcry in Tunisia, plunging the country into its worst political crisis since the revolution two years ago that ousted former dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Belaid’s backers accuse the ruling Islamist Ennahda party for the murder, a charge which the party denies. So far there has been no progress in the murder investigation.