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May 11, 2011

Dozens Wounded as Yemeni Forces Fire on Protesters

Dozens were wounded Thursday as fresh clashes erupted between Yemeni security forces and protesters, a day after at least nine people were killed in anti-government unrest.

News organizations quoting witnesses and medics say government forces opened fire with machine guns on demonstrators in Taiz, Yemen's main industrial city. The city has been under siege for several days.

On Wednesday, security forces fired on tens of thousands of protesters demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. At least nine people were killed and dozens wounded in the incidents which took place during rallies in at least three cities.

Earlier this week, representatives of six Gulf nations urged Yemen's government and opposition leaders to sign an agreement that calls for President Saleh's resignation. The Gulf Cooperation Council made the call Tuesday as it wrapped up a summit.

In a joint statement, council members said their agreement represented Yemen's "best way" out of its political crisis and would "spare the country further political division and deterioration of security."

The plan calls for Saleh to hand over power to a deputy and step down within 30 days of signing the accord.   It also calls for the establishment of a unity government that includes the opposition.

Saleh has refused to sign the agreement in his capacity as president. He says he will only sign it as leader of the ruling General People's Congress party.

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