TUNIS, Tunisia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Officials of the opposition Progressive Democratic Party in Tunisia say at least 20 people have been killed in ongoing anti-government protests.
The PDP says police allegedly killed at least 20 protesters in two central towns of Kasserine and Tala, Iran's state-supported Press TV reported Sunday.
Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, head of the PDP, appealed to Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali "to call an immediate ceasefire to spare the lives of innocent citizens."
The Tunisian government has confirmed eight people have been killed in the clashes, which began late Saturday and on into Sunday.
Opposition leaders say the protests are in response to unemployment and high living costs, but government officials are laying the blame for the unrest on a minority of extremists bent on damaging the country.