Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reports of more deaths in Yemeni protest

Witnesses say forces loyal to President Saleh fired on protesters, killing
at least seven in the capital, Sanaa.

Oct 18, 2011 Al Jazeera

At least seven people have been killed and dozens wounded after armed men
loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh opened fire on demonstrators in the
Yemeni capital, witnesses say.

Residents of Sanaa told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that several injured people
were kidnapped after protesters calling on Saleh to step down were trapped
by security forces inside the Al-Qaa neighbourhood.

According to the witnesses, armed men loyal to the embattled president had
erected tents in the street to block an anti-government march.

The protesters came under attack as they marched from Change Square to
Al-Qaa, a district where government buildings are located.

The latest violence came as the United Nations condemned the killing of
peaceful protesters in Yemen.

UN condemnation

"We condemn in the strongest terms the reported killing of a number of
largely peaceful protestors in Sanaa and Taez as a result of the
indiscriminate use of force by Yemeni security forces since Saturday,"
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights, said.

"We are extremely concerned that security forces continue to use excessive
force in a climate of complete impunity for crimes resulting in heavy loss
of life and injury, despite repeated pledges by the government to the
contrary," he added.

Earlier on Monday, Tawakkul Karman, Yemen's Nobel Peace Prize laureate,
urged the UN to act "immediately and decisively" to halt a deadly
government crackdown on protesters.

In a letter to Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, she said: "This is
the only thing that will give Yemenis... confidence that international
justice exists... and that it extends far enough to reach Saleh, his gang
and all the despots who continue to kill innocents."

Karman and tens of thousands of other pro-democracy activists have for
months been camped out in Sanaa's Change Square, demanding an end to
Saleh's long rule.

The crackdown by government troops on anti-government protests has killed
hundreds since the mass protest movement, inspired by uprisings in other
countries in the region, began in late January.

Yemeni forces kill 12 in new protests

By AHMED AL-HAJ - Associated Press | Oct. 18, 2011

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni government forces opened fire Tuesday on protesters
in Sanaa, killing 12 and injuring more than 70, a medical official said, a
day after the capital witnessed its worst fighting in weeks.

Mohammed al-Qubati, the director of a field hospital at the main protest
site in Sanaa dubbed "Change Square," said more than 70 protesters were
injured in the protests demanding the resignation of President Ali
Abdullah Saleh.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Sanaa, led by shirtless
young men with the words "Leave ... you butcher" scrawled across their
chests, referring to Saleh, .

Soldiers from the Republican Guard, a loyalist unit led by Saleh's son
Ahmed, arrested four female protesters who were ahead of the main
demonstration, said activist Habib al-Uraiqi.

Abdel-Rahman Berman of Yemen's National Organization for Defending Rights
and Freedoms (HOOD) said Saleh's forces used live ammunition and harsh
tear gas.

Berman said HOOD team monitoring the situation charged that government
forces and thugs abducted female protesters and some wounded demonstrators
in a "shameful and criminal way."

Similar demonstrations were held in other parts of Yemen, including the
southern cities of Aden and Taiz, protest organizers said.

The protesters called for Saleh to be put on trial for killing
demonstrators and urged the international community and the U.N. Security
Council to help topple him.

On Tuesday, key members of the Security Council began considering a
British-drafted resolution that would call for an immediate cease-fire in
Yemen and transfer of power, as well as immediate action by Yemeni
authorities to end attacks against civilians. The consultations are still
in progress.

President Saleh is accused by many Yemenis of pushing the country into
civil war by tenaciously clinging to power in the face of eight months of
mass protests across the country, the defection to the opposition of key
tribal and military allies and mounting international pressure on him to
step down.

He has balked at a U.S.-backed plan proposed by Saudi Arabia and its five
smaller allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council to hand over power to his
deputy and step down in exchange for immunity.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner called on Saleh to
sign the transition deal. "The violence has gone on far too long," Toner
told reporters. "It's taken too many lives."

Pre-dawn fighting between troops loyal to Yemen's embattled leader and
rival forces killed at least 18 people in Sanaa on Monday, reviving fears
of civil war in the poor Arabian peninsula nation.

A civil war would significantly hurt efforts led by the U.S. to fight
Yemen's dangerous al-Qaida branch. It could turn Yemen into a global haven
for militants just a short distance away from the vast oil fields of the
Gulf and the key shipping lanes in the Arabian and Red Seas to and from
the Suez Canal.


Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer at the U.N. and Bradley Klapper
in Washington contributed to this report.

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