WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government on Thursday urged the Tunisians to refrain from violence following the assassination of a major opposition leader in the North African country.
"There's no place for violence in Tunisia's democracy," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a briefing. "It won 't resolve the issues that Tunisians face, and it's not an appropriate response to murder. It's only going to bring more violence,"
She urged the Tunisians to express their "discontent peacefully, " and meanwhile called on the security forces to "exercise restraint."
Nuland's remarks came after Chokri Belaid, a leader of the opposition party Popular Front, was shot dead Wednesday morning outside his home in Tunis.
Belaid's death sparked anger in the Arab nation, with thousands of Tunisians taking to the streets in the capital city of Tunis on Wednesday. On Thursday, eight people were injured in clashes in Tunisia's mining town of Gafsa.
Following the assassination, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali on Wednesday announced his plan to form a new government of technocrats to lead the country until elections take place.
Nuland welcomed the steps taken by Tunisia's political parties to maintain dialogue regarding the country's political future.
"It's up to Tunisia's leaders to decide how to take the country forward, but we also encourage Tunisia's citizens, their political leaders, to continue to work together to find consensus so that the constitution can be completed quickly...and that they can develop a plan for early elections and determine a permanent government," she said.