News / Middle East

Yemeni Forces Fire on Sana'a Protest, 30 Wounded

An anti-government protester reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Taiz, Yemen, April 17, 2011
An anti-government protester reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Taiz, Yemen, April 17, 2011

Yemeni security forces fired on anti-government protesters in the capital, Sana'a, wounding at least 30 people as hundreds of thousands demonstrated Sunday in cities across the country.

Doctors say the security forces used live ammunition when they fired. At least 200 other demonstrators were overcome by tear gas during the protests, which were held to denounce Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his remarks against women joining the rallies.

On Friday, President Saleh called for an end to the mingling of men and women in anti-government protests.  He said mixing is against Islamic law.  Those comments drew angry reactions from protesters who took to the streets Sunday in multiple cities. In one of them, Damar, at least 18 people suffered from tear gas fired by security.

Meanwhile, an opposition delegation headed by former Yemeni foreign minister Mohammed Basindwa met with Gulf Arab mediators in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to lay out conditions for entering formal talks.

Opposition leaders say they traveled to the Riyadh to hear the ideas of the Gulf mediators, not for "a dialogue" or to make an offer to the Yemeni government.  They said the group will not compromise on its key demand for Mr. Saleh to step down.

Basindwa was joined by three other opposition leaders, including Yassin Saeed Noman, head of a coalition of parties known as the Joint Meeting Parties.  JMP leaders previously have insisted they would not meet with the Gulf Cooperation Council unless an agreement on a transfer of power was in place.

Council states have offered to mediate such a transfer.  Yemen's opposition rejected the initial plan, saying it would shield the president and his family from prosecution and did not provide a timeline for Mr. Saleh's departure.

Yemen's protesters have said they are frustrated by problems that include rampant corruption and soaring unemployment. They are demanding the immediate ouster of Mr. Saleh, who has been in power 32 years.

 

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

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