Anti-government protester killed in clash in Yemen

Supporters and opponents of Yemeni President fired pistols and assault rifles for the first time during demonstrations

Anti-government protester killed in clash in Yemen

An anti-government protester was killed and seven injured in clashes with supporters of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on Saturday, a day after five people died in protests against his 32-year rule.

The protester was shot in the neck and was taken to a hospital near Sanaa University where he died, witnesses told Reuters. At one stage both sides fired pistols and assault rifles -- the first reported use of firearms by demonstrators.

Four other Saleh opponents were seriously wounded by gunfire, two of them seriously, and three were wounded when demonstrators threw stones at each other outside the university.

A Reuters photographer saw one man with his face covered in blood and another being carried away by protesters. Around 1,000 anti-Saleh demonstrators chanted "Leave! Leave!" and "The people want the fall of the regime!", echoing the slogans of Tunisian and Egyptian protesters. Between 200 and 300 Saleh supporters called for dialogue.

"Those who want power let them come with us to the polling stations ... the Yemeni people face elements of sabotage and those who are outside the system and the law," Saleh said in a speech to representatives of civil society organisations.

Saleh blamed a "foreign agenda" and a "conspiracy against Yemen, its security and stability" for the string of protests against poverty, unemployment and corruption which have gained momentum since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

In a concession to protesters, he has promised to step down when his term ends in 2013 and not to hand power to his son. A coalition of opposition parties has agreed to talk to him, but protests have continued.

Main road blocked

In south Yemen, where resentment of rule from Sanaa runs high, dozens of men used their cars in the town of Karish to block the main road between Taiz and the southern port city of Aden, shouting for "the fall of the regime", residents said.

In Aden as many as 400 protesters staged a peaceful sit-in, holding banners saying: "No to oppression. No to corruption".

The local council of Sheikh Othman, a directorate in Aden, said in a statement it resigned in protest at the use of live bullets by security forces against protesters which led to deaths and injuries in the city on Friday.

In Sanaa, the editor of Defence Ministry newspaper September 26 was wounded when he was beaten and stabbed by anti-government protesters, a government official told Reuters.

On Friday, security forces and pro-government loyalists clashed in several cities with crowds demanding Saleh step down.

Doctors said four people died from gunfire in Aden and one was killed by a grenade in Taiz, Yemen's second city.

Reuters

Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2011, 17:07
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