Tunis (ANTARA News/AFP) - At least 20 people have been shot dead in clashes with police late Saturday and early Sunday in two central Tunisian towns amid protests over the cost of living, an opposition leader told AFP.

"Reports reaching us from Kasserine and Tala speak of at least 20 killed by bullets in the clashes which were continuing this morning," said Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, head of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

Chebbi, quoting his party`s network of sources in the towns, said the funeral processions for the victims had been fired on.

Chebbi appealed to Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali "to call an immediate ceasefire to spare the lives of innocent citizens and respect their right to protest."

Witnesses earlier told AFP that four people had been killed by gunfire in Kasserine. Some witnesses said the toll could rise because of "the large number of seriously injured" in the clashes. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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