Yemen police attack anti-regime protest

2011-03-12 07:23

Sanaa – Yemeni police firing live rounds and teargas killed one person and wounded many more today in a dawn attack on a sit-in demonstration in the capital Sanaa, the protest organisers said.

Police moved in on protesters who had been camped out in University Square since February 21, they said.

One protester was killed and nearly 300 were wounded or affected by the teargas, said a medical committee set up by the protesters.

An AFP correspondent said the security forces attacked demonstrators who had stretched the sit-in to neighbouring streets beyond concrete blocks installed by police to demarcate the limit of the protest area.

“By 3am, security forces began to harass protesters, and started to dismantle tents and megaphones,” protester Mohammed Saeed (20) said.

He said the forces had brought in reinforcements after protesters confronted them, and that by 5.30am (local time) police fired live rounds and tear gas grenades.

A volunteering doctor at the square charged that the security forces used a poison gas whose type was difficult to determine, while treatment to deal with its effect was not available at the field clinic.

“These are not tear gases. These are poisonous gases that disable the nerve and respiratory systems. People hit by those gases pass out,” said Iraqi doctor Hussein al-Joshaai, a nerve specialist.

“We do not have a treatment for this. We have asked the authorities to send us medicines but we are still waiting,” he added.

The brutal crackdown came despite Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh’s promise in a speech on Thursday that he would protect demonstrators, whether they were for or against his rule.

Saleh also pledged to devolve power to parliament through constitutional reforms that would be voted on in a referendum later this year.

His offer appeared to bow to pressure after more than a month of violent protests, was swiftly rejected by the opposition, which is demanding his immediate resignation.

The United States was quick in hailing the offer by Saleh, a key ally of Washington in its war against al-Qaeda which has been active in the south Arabian Peninsula country.

US President Barack Obama’s top anti-terror adviser John Brennan yesterday called Saleh to welcome his pledge and urged the opposition to support the plan.

“Brennan reiterated that representatives of all sectors of the Yemeni opposition should respond constructively to President Saleh’s call to engage in a serious dialogue to end the current impasse,” the White House said in a statement.

Protesters have been calling on Saleh, in power since 1978, to step down despite his pledges of reform.

Yesterday, 14 protesters were wounded, including three who appeared to have been shot with live bullets, when police attacked demonstrators in the southern city of Aden, on a day of anti-regime protests across the impoverished country.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.