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Yemeni Protests Continue, Fourteen Wounded in New Clashes With Security Forces

Editor's Note:

Yemeni protesters have been consistent on their demands that the dictator Saleh steps down as the first step towards a regime change to democracy. The dictator, however, is still deaf, waiting to see how his Libyan colleague in the club of Arab dictators will do, in order to draw his own lessons.

Fourteen wounded in new clashes in Yemen - activists

SANAA, Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:11am EDT

SANAA, March 17 (Reuters) -

Yemeni security forces opened live fire and used tear gas on Thursday on protesters demanding an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, wounding at least 14, activists said.

They said the clashes took place in the capital Sanaa and the southern city of Taiz and that 10 of the protesters were hurt when police used live fire and tear gas.

Protesters in Taiz said two people were hit by bullets while another two suffered from the effects of tear gas.

Some 150 people were wounded on Wednesday when security forces tried to break up a rally in the Red Sea city of Hudaida.

The Arabian Peninsula state, neighbour to oil giant Saudi Arabia, has been hit by weeks of protests trying to shake loose Saleh's 32-year grip on power.

Both pro- and anti-government factions appear to have increasingly resorted to violence.

Yemen's rial has fallen up to almost 8 percent against the dollar in the past week as unrest takes a toll on the poor Arab country's economy, traders said late on Wednesday.

The central bank has slapped unspecified penalties on 10 currency exchanges and other firms for dealing in dollars above the official set rate of about 214 rials.

The United States, which has long seen Saleh as a bulwark against an active al Qaeda wing based in Yemen, has condemned the bloodshed and backed the right to peaceful protest. But it has also insisted only dialogue can end the political crisis. (For a feature on tribes joining protests click on [ID:nLDE7261ME]) (Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari)

Witnesses: 2 Yemeni protests attacked, 80 hurt


- Associated Press March 17, 2011 1:39pm EDT

SANAA, Yemen —

Security forces and government loyalists struck protest camps across Yemen on Thursday, hurling rocks, beating protesters with sticks and firing rubber and live bullets, hoping to break the will of thousands camped in squares for over a month, demanding their longtime authoritarian leader leave power.

Anti-government protestors raise a traditional Arabic headscarf while chanting slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, March 17, 2011. Witnesses said government supporters have attacked protestors camped out at a square in the Yemeni capital demanding the country's ruler of 32 years to step down.

The violence underscored the chipping-at-the-edges tactic of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for over 30 years. He does not appear to have the will - or perhaps the capabilities - to disperse the demonstrators conclusively. In the past few weeks, he has unleashed fiery assaults on protesters in different cities using a mix of security forces and paid thugs, apparently hoping to wear them out.

It is just one of the problems this extremely poor, tribal country faces. Even before protests began in mid-February, Yemen's government was struggling to confront one of the world's most active al-Qaida branches, a secessionist rebellion in the south and a Shiite uprising in the north.

Saleh is a key ally in the U.S. campaign against the al-Qaida terror network.

On Thursday, al-Qaida militants ambushed police as they ate lunch at a checkpoint. In a gunfight, three militants and three police were killed, said a security official in the province of Marib.

In the southern province of Taiz, police hurled canisters of choking gas to break up a rally of several thousand. Government loyalists joined in, attacking protesters with iron rods, sticks and knives, witnesses said.

"Thugs - security forces in plain clothes - attacked us," said demonstrator Bushra al-Maqtari.

Several hours later, police and paid thugs rushed at the demonstrators again, adding rubber bullets and live fire to violently disperse the crowd. Medics said some 80 protesters were injured in , at least four with gunshot wounds.

A similar attack took place against protesters camped in the Yemeni capital.

Mohammed al-Abahi, a doctor in charge of a makeshift hospital at the encampment, said eight people were injured in the attack. He said two were shot, while others had breathing difficulties from tear gas fired by police who tried to separate the two groups.

Following the attacks by thugs and security forces, demonstrators rushed to gather in the public squares again. Men wrapped bandannas around their heads with the red-white-and-black colors of the Yemeni flag stood shoulder-to-shoulder in some areas. Others wrote on their foreheads in markers: "Leave."

In a separate encampment, protesting women in billowing black robes and face veils huddled together as their children played nearby. In deeply traditional Yemen, particularly the northern part of the country, men and women do not usually mix in public. The sight of women demonstrators - now ordinary - has already challenged Yemen's deeply conservative society.

Over the past month, security forces have killed 48 demonstrators, according to a Yemeni rights group. Most of those were in the port-side province of Aden.

Read more:

Yemen deports 2 American, 2 British journalists

Yemen protests erupt into clashes, 3 soldiers dead

(2011-03-14) (Reuters) -

By Mohammed Ghobari

SANAA (Reuters) -

Scattered clashes broke out across Yemen on Monday, killing three soldiers in the north, as military forces were deployed to check nationwide protests demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The impoverished Arabian Peninsula state has been rocked by weeks of demonstrations that have undermined Saleh's 32-year grip on power, with both pro- and anti-government supporters appearing to resort increasingly to violence in the struggle.

Seven demonstrators and three soldiers have died in clashes since Saturday, raising the death toll from unrest above 30.

The United States, which has long seen Saleh as a bulwark against a dynamic al Qaeda wing based in Yemen, has condemned the bloodshed and backed the right for peaceful protest, but has insisted only dialogue can end the political crisis.

Two soldiers and an officer were killed as clashes broke out in the northern al-Jawf province, which borders oil giant Saudi Arabia, Yemen's state news agency Saba said.

Fighting intensified after protesters stormed a municipal building. Security forces fired on them, wounding 10, but could not stop them seizing the building, a local official said.

In the central Maarib province, where several oil and gas fields of international companies are located, a man stabbed governor Naji Zayedi, critically wounding him as he and police tried to break up a crowd of thousands at a sit-in.

"Members of the opposition stabbed the governor and wounded three others as security tried to stop protesters from inciting chaos," a local official said.


Saleh has made many verbal concessions to the protesters, promising to step down in 2013 and offering a new constitution giving more powers to parliament, but he has steadfastly refused his critics' main demand that he leave office immediately.

Soldiers and armored vehicles tried to cut off an area in the capital Sanaa, where around 20,000 anti-government supporters have been camped out for weeks.

"We're expecting an attack at any minute, but we're not leaving until the regime falls, " said protester Taha Qayed.

Crowds chanted: "Leave, leave you murderer."

Police fired in the air to try to break up tens of thousands of protesters in Taiz, 200 km (125 miles) south of capital Sanaa. Three were hurt, but protesters continued demonstrating.

Thousands were also protesting in al-Hawta, the regional capital of southern Lahej province, residents said.

"Al-Hawta is in a state of paralysis. The opposition has called for a general strike to protest at the repression of demonstrators," a resident told Reuters by phone.

He said all the markets were shuttered and that security forces were spread out around the city.

Elsewhere in the south, more than 10,000 people were also protesting in the flashpoint province of Dalea, where police have often clashed with armed secessionist groups, locals said.

Popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia have inspired this latest wave of unrest in Yemen, but the country was already seething with intermittent rebellions in the north and south.

As demonstrations gather steam across the country, a string of Saleh's allies have recently defected to the protesters, who are frustrated by rampant corruption and soaring unemployment. Some 40 percent of the population live on $2 a day or less in Yemen, and a third face chronic hunger.

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden; Writing by Erika Solomon; Editing by Crispian Balmer)


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