News / Middle East

At Least 7 Dead in Syria; Yemen Protests Continue

Mourners attend the funerals of protesters killed in earlier clashes in the Syrian city of Homs Apr18 2011
Mourners attend the funerals of protesters killed in earlier clashes in the Syrian city of Homs Apr18 2011
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Mourners shout and chant as the coffins of those killed early Monday in Homs are carried into the city's main mosque for funeral services. Witnesses say thousands of protesters marched in the streets of the city, demanding that those responsible for the deaths be punished.

Video on a Facebook support group showed demonstrators holding a sit-in at a main square of Homs, calling for the government to be toppled. Many protesters insisted they would continue their sit-in until their demands are met. Security forces appeared to be on alert, poised to intervene.

Other protests were reported within the past 24 hours in the cities of Idlib, Banias, Latakia and the flashpoint southern city of Deraa.

Syrian government TV accused "armed gangs" of fomenting violence in the town of Talbissa. It claimed the gangs fired on police from rooftops, killing one and wounding others.

The state TV also accused saboteurs of trying to create electrical outages in Damascus. An official from the Ministry of Electricity claims young men set fire to underground power cables.

He says he got a phone call Sunday night warning him that a group of young men was trying to destroy electrical cables underneath the highway along the northern outskirts of the capital.

The official Syrian news agency SANA also quoted Foreign Minister Walid al Moallem as saying that outside forces, including "certain Arab satellite TV channels" are inciting violence in Syria. He said the government is under pressure to re-establish order and will take all "appropriate steps" to do so.

Elsewhere, tens of thousands of Yemeni protesters marched in the streets of at least six cities Monday, demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Al Jazeera TV showed a number of wounded young men being treated in Hodeida after security forces fired on protesters.

A weekend conference in Riyadh of Yemeni opposition groups and representatives of President Saleh did not result in any agreement. The president is insisting on renewing dialogue with the opposition, while the opposition insists that he resign immediately.

A number of former government ministers and politicians who recently resigned from President Saleh’s ruling party declared Monday that they are forming a new opposition political bloc, opposed to the president.

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