March 21, 2011

Yemen: Tanks moved onto streets

Yemen saw massive demonstrations against US-backed President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday as crowds tens of thousands strong clashed with security forces.

Bill Beanfeild,

In the capital Sanaa the government had to bring out tanks and other military forces to protect key buildings as crowds swelled.

Protesters also stood their ground in the city of Mualla, surging out of their destroyed encampment and encircling a police station.

More than a month of daily protests calling for political freedom and an end to corruption have presented President Saleh with the most dire challenge in his 32-year rule in Yemen.

In the bloodiest day of the uprising, Yemeni forces killed at least 46 people and injured hundreds in the capital on Friday, with snipers firing on demonstrators from rooftops.

On Saturday, police fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters at a camp in Mualla.

At least 13 people were wounded, including three hit by live rounds.

Thousands surged out of the camp and surrounded a nearby police station in an attempt to seize it.

Police opened fire and security troops demolished their encampment but confrontations continued.

Protesters chased security forces out of Dar Saad and took control of the city.

Dar Saad has witnessed some of the deadliest clashes in the past few days in which seven people have been killed.

Protesters have set fire to the main police station, torched police cars and blocked roads to stop troops from bringing in reinforcements.

In Sanaa soldiers in tanks and armoured personnel carriers took up positions at junctions and key buildings, including the presidential palace, state TV building and other government institutions. Soldiers searched motorists and passers-by.

Orders to implement a large-scale military operation aimed at emptying main squares of protesters within the next 48 hours have been issued by the authorities, who are said to be planning to arrest opposition leaders soon.

The violence was condemned by the UN and the US, although it is still sending Yemen's government $250 million (£154m) in military aid this year.

Several prominent members of the ruling Congress Party announced their resignations on Saturday.

Among them were two former culture ministers, the head of the state-run Saba news agency and the Yemeni ambassador to Beirut.

Even the Yemeni president's own tribe has called on him to step down.
- Comments

1 comment:

  1. Of all the US-propped dictators in the ME, Saleh has got to be one of the most heinous. This is the guy who was taking money from the US in exchange for allowing the CIA to drone with own people while claiming that it was government doing it as revealed by a WikiLeaked cable. This is what started the unrest and it has been going for some time now. He's a shameless, hardheaded, piece of crap excuse for a human being. He has also fallen out of grace with the US since Yemen has no oil. The fallen out between him and the US was spectacular and well deserved. That ought to teach anyone who jumps in bed with the US what to expect from them if things get bad. The people of Yemen should make this dictator face his maker sooner rather than later.


Popular stories