Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Yemen: New clashes between protesters and army result in more deaths

Reports have emerged that at least seven people have been killed in more violent clashes in Sana'a. According to medical officials, government forces opened fire on protesters who have been calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign.

Witnesses said that protesters were making their way to government buildings when they were accosted by security forces. The reports about the latest fatalities come just a day after some of the worst clashes in Sana'a for weeks.

A doctor from a makeshift hospital in Change Square said around 50 people sustained shot wounds and many others were affected by tear gas. Many of the protesters came under fire from security troops as they marched from Change Square to the loyalist-held al-Qaa neighbourhood, where several government offices are located.

According to witnesses, thousands of people are trapped in the square coming under fire from hundreds of loyalist forces. Leaders of the protests said rallies against Saleh's rule also took place in the southern cities of Aden and Taez, where one person was reported killed late on Monday 17th October.

In a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Yemen's new Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakul Karman, called on the UN to take "immediate and decisive action to stop the massacres and hold the perpetrators accountable".

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville said he condemned "in the strongest terms the reported killing of a number of largely peaceful protesters in Sanaa and Taez as a result of the indiscriminate use of force by Yemeni security forces since Saturday".

He added: “We are extremely concerned that security forces continue to use excessive force in a climate of complete impunity for crimes, resulting in heavy loss of life and injury, despite repeated pledges by the government to the contrary.”

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, WSJ

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

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