France 'deplores violence' in Tunisia
France "deplores the violence" in Tunisia that saw at least 14 people killed this weekend in a wave of social unrest, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.
"We deplore the violence, which caused casualties, and call for calm," spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters, after the latest in weeks of protests against high prices and unemployment in Tunisia turned deadly.
"Tunisia is confronted by economic and social problems. Only dialogue will allow Tunisians to get over them," Valero added.
"Cooperation between France and Tunisia is strongly focused on employment and will remain so. Now there is an urgent need for calm in Tunisia."
Tunisia's government said 14 people were killed in clashes over the weekend.
An opposition leader, Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, put the death toll at "at least 20" in clashes between protesters and security forces in the towns of Tala and Kasserine, south of the capital Tunis, and in the town of Requeb.
"We are deeply saddened by the human toll of the deadly clashes at the weekend in Tunisia," Valero said.
Neighbouring Algeria has also seen a wave of protests over unemployment and other issues.
© 2011 AFP