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Yemeni Forces Clash With Protesters, 85 Wounded


Anti-government protesters guard the site of a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, Yemen, March 17, 2011

Anti-government protesters guard the site of a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, Yemen, March 17, 2011

Yemeni security forces and government loyalists clashed with opposition activists in two major cities Thursday, using guns, tear gas and batons against the protesters. At least 85 people were reported wounded.

Witnesses say 80 people were hurt in the southern city of Taiz, when police and government supporters fought with thousands of opposition activists demanding the ouster of longtime Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Earlier, masked assailants firing live rounds and armed with daggers stormed into a square in the capital, Sana'a, where thousands of anti-government protesters have been camping out for weeks. Yemeni police also fired tear gas during the confrontation. At least five people were wounded.

Yemeni protesters angered by poverty, corruption and a lack of political freedoms began an uprising earlier this year to demand an immediate end to President Saleh's 32-year rule. The protest-related violence has killed at least 30 people.

Mr. Saleh also faces a challenge to his authority from al-Qaida militants who have based themselves in lawless parts of Yemen to plot attacks on the government and the West.

Yemeni security officials say al-Qaida militants attacked a security post in the eastern province of Marib on Thursday as security personnel ate their lunch, triggering a battle that killed three militants and two policemen. Elsewhere, security officials said they detained two al-Qaida members.

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

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