Furious Tunisians protest fraud, point finger at Islamist party

First free, transparent elections marred by fraud

TUNIS - About 100 Tunisians protested Tuesday outside the headquarters of the independent electoral body against "fraud" they claimed had marred the country's first-ever democratic vote.
"No, no to fraud," chanted the group of mainly young people, pointing the finger at the Islamist Ennahda party which appeared set to take the biggest block of votes in Sunday's polls with results due on Tuesday.
The protesters called for a probe into the finances of some parties, including Ennahda, which is widely suspected of being propped up by Gulf countries despite a ban on foreign funding for parties contesting the election.
"The blood of our martyrs is worth more than your sheep," shouted one among the group in apparent reference to claims that Ennahda had distributed sheep to poor people for the celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast of sacrifice, in the run-up to the historic polls.
"Degage, degage (French for "leave")," the protesters cried -- a slogan that has become synonymous with the Arab Spring uprisings that started in Tunisia with the ouster of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in a popular uprising in January.
A large deployment of police kept an eye on the protest outside the electoral body ISIE's media centre.
The European Union observer mission earlier expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the polls, and said any irregularities were "minor".
A few dozen protesters, people injured in the former government's clampdown on the uprising that topped Ben Ali, gathered outside the offices of interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi elsewhere in the capital to lament what they said was the government's neglect of their plight.