Monday, 14 February 2011

More anti-government protests in Yemen

Anti-government protestors and supporters of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh have clashed in violent attacks in Taiz, south of Sana'a. Reports have emerged that police fired arms into the air in order to disperse the crowds, but was unable to do so.

The demonstrations, inspired by those sweeping the Middle East, have been going on sporadically for a couple of weeks. During an uprising in the capital, protestors outside Sana'a University chanted, "Hey Ali, get out, get out…There is no solution except to leave."

Police intervened in the protest by building a wall between the two groups of demonstrators, consisting of 500 anti-government protesters and 100 supporters of Saleh. Anti-government protestors have been going strong in recent weeks, attracting as many as tens of thousands of people.

In order to appease the increasingly discontented public, Saleh offered significant concessions, including a pledge to step down in 2013. But, the protests seem far from over as the last couple of days confrontations between the two groups turned violent and saw rival members beating each other with batons and fists.

Police intervention has been reported to be unnecessary brutal, and liberal in its use of electroshock tasers. Voicing her concerns, Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson, confirmed that, “government security forces brutally beat and tasered peaceful demonstrators” without provocation.

Sources: Reuters, BBC News, New York Post, PA

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

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