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News Wrap: Tunisia Marks Year Anniversary of Free Elections

October 23, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN:  Wall Street had one of its worst days of the year after a series of disappointing earnings reports from the likes of DuPont, Xerox, and UPS.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost 243 points to close at 13102.  The Nasdaq fell 26 points to close at 2990.

The country where the Arab spring began, Tunisia, marked an anniversary today with rival demonstrations.  It’s been one year since an Islamist party took power in Tunisia’s first election since a longtime dictator was ousted.  

Pro- and anti-government supporters gathered today outside the national assembly building in Tunis.  They waved signs and chanted slogans at one another.

ADEL HAMMAMI, Islamist Supporter (through translator):  We are here to celebrate the first election of the constituent assembly, the first time in the history of Tunisia.  This day is considered as the second independence, the first time the Tunisian people practiced the election in a transparent way with the world as a witness.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Opposition lawmakers boycotted a special legislative session marking the anniversary.  They accused the Islamist government of failing to achieve the revolution’s goals of jobs, freedom, and dignity.

The emir of Qatar made a landmark trip to Gaza today.  It was the first visit by any head of state since Hamas seized control there five years ago.  Gazans lined the main road to Gaza City, as the emir waved at them from his car.  

He also met with Hamas leaders and urged them to reconcile with the rival Fatah faction, which rules the West Bank.  Israel maintains a sea blockade of Gaza, but Qatar has promised to deliver hundreds of million dollars in aid by the land route through Egypt.