Tunisians Mourn Slain Protesters, Demand Freedom

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The north African nation of Tunisia is observing three days of national mourning for those killed in the weeks of protests that eventually toppled the government.

The interior minister said 78 civilians were killed, many shot by police, in nearly a month of protests over unemployment, corruption and repression.

On Thursday, members of the new interim government met for the first time to discuss how to restore order and prepare for new elections.

Some are concerned that the changes could give radical Islamic parties a real shot at power for the first time. But the radicals will face many challenges in this westward-looking nation where abortions - taboo in many Muslim societies - are legal and Muslim headscarves are banned in public buildings.

Meanwhile, a Tunisian pastor said he's hopeful the changes will be good news for Christians.

Kamal Fatmi leads the New Church of Tunis, a congregation of about 100 people. He recently told Chicago's WMBI radio that his church has never been granted official recognition, even though it's the largest in the country.

With rioting having rocked the capital in recent weeks, he said Christians have feared going to church. But he expects that to change now that order is being restored under an interim government.

Fatmi said that like other Tunisians, Christians there have been praying for freedom and that God would bless their country. He believes God is now answering those prayers.

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