Thursday, 24 February 2011

President Saleh orders security forces to protect demonstrators

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ordered his security forces to give protestors calling for his resignation "full protection". In an official statement released by State run Saba news agency, Saleh also instructed security to prevent direct confrontation between anti-government demonstrators and his supporters.

He called on both sides to take precautions against those who may try to infiltrate the protests and incite violence. It has been estimated that 15 people have been killed since the protests began two weeks ago. Several members of the ruling party have resigned over the government's handing of the demonstrations.

On Wednesday, security forces used tear gas and fired bullets into the air to disperse protesters in Aden, while two demonstrators were reportedly killed during confrontations in Sana'a. Thousands of Yemeni people have take to the streets to voice their frustrations over living standards, food prices and unemployment.

In a bid to appease the increasingly vociferous nation, Saleh has made some concessions and promised to step down when his term ends in 2013.

Sources: BBC News, Voice of America, New York Times

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

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