UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday strongly condemned the assassination of a Tunisian opposition leader, saying the North African country's "democratic transition should not be derailed by acts of political violence."
"The secretary-general strongly condemns the assassination yesterday of Mr. Chokri Belaid, secretary-general of the Democratic Patriots Movement and one of the leaders of the Popular Front in Tunisia," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.
"There has been important progress in Tunisia's transition," the statement said. "Yet, much remains to be done in terms of the constitutional process and with regard to meeting the social and economic demands of the Tunisian people."
The secretary-general, added the statement, "encourages the authorities to move the reform process forward."
Eight people were injured in clashes in Tunisia's mining town of Gafsa on Thursday, one day after Belaid's assassination in capital Tunis, where calm has been largely restored.
The murder of Belaid, a 48-year-old secularist, laid bare the challenges facing the nation of 10 million, whose protests two years ago sparked the recent profound changes in West Asia and North Africa.