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Tunisia (and Beyond) Live Coverage: General Strike and Marches as Slain Opposition Leader is Buried

See also Syria Live Coverage: Watching the Attack in Damascus
Thursday's Tunisia (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Government is Dissolved After Murder of Opposition Leader

1642 GMT: Saudi Arabia. Thousands marched in Qatif on Thursday night in memory of leading cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, shot and detained by security forces last year.

Al-Nimr was a leading figure in the protests in the mainly-Shia Eastern Province, protesting detentions and calling for political reforms.

1548 GMT: Mali. French forces have reportedly taken Tessalit, near the Algerian border, from insurgents.

Aicha Belco Maiga, president of the government body representing the area of Tessalit, reported from a colleague in the town, "Since 8 a.m....French troops are in Tessalit. They control the entrance to the town, as well as the administrative buildings."

1542 GMT: Egypt. Thousands have marched in "Friday of Dignity" rallies in Cairo, moving towards Tahrir Square and the Presidential Palace.

"The people want the downfall of the regime," the protesters chanted while others said Ministry of Interior officials were "thugs".

1312 GMT: Tunisia. Police have fired tear gas at dozens of protesters in central Tunis and at the cemetery where slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid is due to be buried.

Groups of protesters reportedly tried to attack cars outside the El-Jellaz cemetery in southern Tunis, but the police fired tear gas to disperse them, while in the city centre they chased young protesters who had gathered on the main thoroughfare of Habib Bourguiba Avenue.

Police also reportedly clashed with protesters in the town of Gafsa.

1222 GMT: Iraq. The death toll from this morning's car bombs in a mainly Shia neighbourhood in southern Baghdad and in Khatamiya in the north of the capital is at least 31, with 70 others wounded.

The bombs targeted a pet market, where many Iraqis gather on Fridays.

1208 GMT: Yemen. The Yemeni Government has asked the United Nations Security Council to investigate its allegation that a ship seized on 23 January carried a cargo of Iranian-made missiles, rockets and other weapons for insurgents.

The Ministry of Defense said Wednesday that the ship, captured with the assistance of US forces, had material for bombs and suicide belts, explosives, Katyusha rockets, surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and large amounts of ammunition.

Last week, Yemeni President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi sent a message to his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling on him to stop sending arms and supporting insurgents.

1200 GMT: Tunisia. Tens of thousands of marchers have chanted slogans against the ruling Ennadha Party as they accompanied the coffin of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

"Belaid, rest in peace, we will continue the struggle," the crowd shouted, holding portraits of the politician, shot dead outside his home on Wednesday.

They also criticised Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahda: "Ghannouchi, assassin, criminal. Tunisia is free, terrorism out."

The capital was at near standstill amid a general strike called by the country's largest union.

1155 GMT: Tunisia. A discussion of recent events on Al Jazeera's Inside Story: "Tunisia in Turmoil":

1045 GMT: Mali. Heavy gunfire has erupted in the west of the capital Bamako on Friday, with Government forces fighting mutinous paratroopers, military sources and witnesses said.

Government soldiers sealed off the area around the paratroopers' base, as reinforcements arrived. The paratroopers were protesting disciplinary measures against some of the unit's members.

Since a military coup last March, aratroopers loyal to former President Amadou Toumani Toure had been largely sidelined and some arrested.

Meanwhile, north of Gao, recently recaptured from Islamist insurgents, a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up, injuring one Malian soldier.

It was the first reported suicide bombing since the French-led military intervention launched on 11 January drove insurgents from strongholds in the north such as Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal.

1040 GMT: Tunisia. Angelique Chrisafis of The Guardian describes the atmosphere as people gather for the funeral of assassinated opposition leader Chokri Belaid:

0850 GMT: Iraq. At least 21 people have been killed by a series of car bombs exploded in street markets in mainly Shi'ite areas of the country, according to police and hospital sources.

At least 89 people have been slain since the start of February.

0710 GMT: Tunisia. As assassinated opposition leader Chokri Belaid is buried today, tens of thousands of Tunisians are expected to march amid a general strike.

The General Union of Tunisian Workers called the strike to coincide with the funeral of Shokri Belaid, shot dead outside his home on Wednesday.

The murder sparked protests in Tunis and other cities, and the Government has put the police and army on alert to prevent any outbreaks of violence and to "deal with any troublemakers" today.

On Thursday, the Ennadha Party, the leading faction in the ruling coalition, rejected Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali's proposal to dissolve the Government and install a cabinet of technocrats.

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