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Protesters, government loyalists clash in south Yemen

Posted by on March 10, 2011 0 Comment

Sana’a, March 9 (DPA) A new round of violent clashes between government loyalists and protesters broke out in the south of Yemen Wednesday, a day after a protester was killed in Sana’a.

There were no details available on how many people were injured in the latest clashes, which took place in the province of Hadr Maut.

In the country’s capital, one protester was killed and at least 80 others were injured after Yemeni police used live ammunition and tear gas in a bid to disperse protesters outside Sana’a University late Tuesday.

The Yemen Post reported that at least 18 of those injured were in critical condition as a result of the attack.

The spokesman of the opposition coalition known as the Joint Meeting Parties, Mohammed Qahtan, denounced the attacks and told the newspaper that he holds President Ali Abdullah Saleh personally responsible.

Meanwhile, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticised the country’s officials for authorizing the use of live fire on demonstrators.

“Shooting into crowds is no way to respond to peaceful protests,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

“Governments in the region and beyond should make clear to Yemen that international assistance comes with the condition of respecting human rights.”

HRW said that security forces fired weapons last month in the southern city of Aden, using assault rifles and machine guns to attack protesters, killing at least nine and possibly twice that number, and injuring more than 150, some of them children.

With protests growing in strength, the government this week
deployed the military in the streets for the first time since anti-government demonstrations erupted last month. Troops were stationed at Sana’a University and in front of the presidential palace, where protesters have been camping out.

Yemen’s state-run news agency blamed gunmen linked to a tribal leader for the violence, saying they allegedly tried to enter the university with weapons.

Hundreds of tribesmen in the town of Khawlan, near the capital, had organized a convoy earlier Tuesday of more than 200 cars to join the anti-government protesters outside the university.

Earlier this week, Saleh appealed for national dialogue with the opposition, religious figures and social leaders.

The US ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Michael Feierstein, spoke out against forcefully ending the president’s 33-year reign and said that Washington believes the way out of the crisis is through dialogue, the government-owned Al-Syasiah paper reported.

Saleh’s close relationship with the United States in the fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has angered locals. Last week, Saleh blamed both the US and Israel for the latest wave of unrest taking place throughout the region.

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