Tunisia Islamist leader heckled at polling station

October 23, 2011 12:03

TUNIS - A few dozen people on Sunday heckled the leader of an Islamist party poised to take power in Tunisia's first democratic election, underlining tensions between Islamists and secularists who say their values are under threat.

Rachid Ghannouchi, his wife and daughter, cast their vote in the El Menzah 6 neighborhood of Tunis and when they came out of the polling station some people queuing to vote began shouting at Ghannouchi.

They shouted "Degage! Degage!," French for "Go away!" and: "You are a terrorist and an assassin. Go back to London!"

Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda party spent 22 years in exile in London before returning home after the revolution. Ghannouchi did not respond to the heckling.

He says his party is moderate, will respect women's rights and will not try to impose its values on society. Secularists in Tunisia say they do not believe those assurances.

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