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Tunisia to bury slain opposition leader

A Tunisian woman watches as mourners pour into Jebel Jelloud, a suburb of Tunis, on February 7, 2013
A Tunisian woman watches behind a national flag as mourners pour into Jebel Jelloud, a suburb of Tunis and hometown of assassinated leftist leader Chokri Belaid, on February 7, 2013. Tunis is at a near standstill, with streets deserted, shops shut and pub

Tunis was at a near standstill Friday, with streets deserted, shops shut and public transport at a minimum as a general strike called by a powerful trade union after a leftist politician was murdered takes effect.

The Tunis-Carthage airport was open but many flights were cancelled, a Tunisair official told AFP.

A few buses and trams ran in the near-empty streets but there were few passengers.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets for the burial of opposition leader Chokri Belaid
Map of Tunisia locating violent protests following the murder of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

The strike was called by the 500,000-strong General Union of Tunisian Workers to coincide with the funeral of Chokri Belaid, a lawyer and vocal critic of the ruling Ennahda party who was shot dead outside his home Wednesday by a lone gunman.

The assassination of the popular opposition leader sparked two days of clashes across the country between police and opposition supporters, leaving scores injured and a policeman dead.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets for the burial of Belaid after weekly prayers in the Muslim country, whose long-established secular tradition has been countered by the rise of one of the region's most powerful Islamist parties.