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Demonstrators, Security Forces Clash in Yemen


Medics attend to an injured anti-government protester at a hospital in Taiz, April 8, 2011

Medics attend to an injured anti-government protester at a hospital in Taiz, April 8, 2011

Witnesses in Yemen's southern city of Taiz say at least two people have been killed in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters.

The unrest erupted on Friday, the same day that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected a plan for him to step down that was proposed by Gulf states.

He told supporters at a rally in the capital, Sana'a, his government had turned down what he called a "coup" against his country's constitution and democracy. He said Yemen's power came from its "great people, not from Qatar" or anyone else.

On Thursday, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council was hoping to reach a deal with Saleh that called for him to step down. Opposition groups said the plan called for the Yemeni leader to hand over power to a deputy.

As President Saleh spoke Friday, tens of thousands of chanting government supports and opponents had gathered for rival demonstrations at different locations in Sana'a. Some anti-government protesters held up signs that said "leave" in Arabic.

For the past two months, anti-government protesters have been calling for an end to his 32-year rule. President Saleh has offered to resign, but only after new elections are held.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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