‘Et Tu Brute?’: Brutal Public Political Assassinations

Julius Caesar might be the most famous political leader to be assassinated in a public forum, but he was neither the first nor the last. We all know about the famous cases like Abraham Lincoln, JFK, and Franz Ferdinand, when a single gunshot has been all it’s taken to upend a nation or shake the world. From regicide and avunculicide to mad killers and mobsters, read on to find out more.

Hendrik Verwoerd

The sixth prime minister of the Union of South Africa, Verwoerd was killed in the hall of parliament in 1966. The ‘architect of Apartheid’ (South Africa’s system of racist minority rule), Verwoerd survived an earlier attempt only to be stabbed multiple times by a parliamentary courier whilst parliament was in session, and only months after winning a landslide election. In the aftermath, investigators discovered that the assassin was a mentally ill radical with numerous aliases and identities who had slipped through screening procedures.

Luis Carlos Gatan

A Colombian statesman in the running for president in 1979 and again in 1990, Gatan did not live to see the polls a second time. Born in 1943, he worked for as a journalist for over a decade whilst developing his political career. He was a vocal critic of the local drug cartels and the puppet politicians who served them. He was shot and killed during a campaign rally and five mid-level drug traffickers subsequently arrested, but Pablo Escobar was touted by many as the mastermind behind the plot, along with high-ranking police officials in his pocket.

King Faisal Bin Saud of Saudi Arabia

King from 1964 until his death in 1975 – a time before Australian online slots –  Faisal was an active politician and diplomat during his reign. One of the main proponents of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and the international crisis that it precipitated, he is also known for outlawing slavery in Saudi Arabia, establishing the national welfare system and the national television broadcasting infrastructure. He was shot at point blank range by his nephew, Faisal bin Musaid, at a majlis, a public petitioning event.

Inejiro Asanuma

Stabbed with a samurai sword that punctured his aorta during a public debate with the prime minister, Inejiro Asanuma’s death in 1960 was inadvertently broadcast on live television and witnessed by millions across Japan. A charismatic politician and once-mayor of Tokyo, he brought socialists from across the political spectrum together against the conservative majority in the Diet (the Japanese parliament). He was a strident opponent of American occupation. His assassin was a 17-year-old boy armed with a wakizashi stolen from his father, an officer in the Japanese Self-Defense Force.

Yitzhak Rabin

The death of the then-prime minister of Israel at a peace rally in 1995 is a moment of supreme historical irony as well as tragedy. An experienced soldier and two-time prime minister, he was elected to his second term on a platform of peace between Israel and Palestine, and when in office he signed the famous Oslo Accords, a peace treaty with Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. It was for this reason he was shot by a radical Zionist.

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