News / Middle East

Yemeni Government Opponents Call for UN Support

Former government soldiers stand guard as protesters demand President Saleh's resignation, Sana'a, Oct. 6, 2011.
Former government soldiers stand guard as protesters demand President Saleh's resignation, Sana'a, Oct. 6, 2011.

Thousands of Yemenis have rallied in the capital, Sana'a, where they urged the U.N. Security Council to take action against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The mass protests took place on Tuesday, as Britain's U.N. envoys discussed a possible draft resolution on Yemen with Security Council members.  The measure would urge Saleh to support a Gulf Cooperation Council initiative that calls for him to hand over power.

The U.N.'s special envoy for Yemen warned that the security situation in the country has deteriorated.  Jamal Benomar said Tuesday that Sana'a was being controlled by three groups - government forces, supporters of rebel General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and loyalists to tribal leader Sheikh Sadek al-Ahmar.

Meanwhile, Yemeni officials say two bombings targeting security officers in the south left at least one person dead on Tuesday and two others wounded.  Attacks on government officials have increased in recent months, amid widespread protests for Saleh's resignation.

On Monday, Yemeni activists and medics said at least 22 women had been hurt during demonstrations the previous day, after government loyalists threw rocks and other objects at them.

The women had gathered in the southern city of Taiz to demand Mr. Saleh's departure and to celebrate last week's awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Yemeni opposition activist Tawakkul Karman.

Karman is the first Arab woman to receive the honor.  She is credited for helping to lead a struggle for women's rights and peace in Yemen.

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

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