Protests continue after state of emergency declared in Yemen

2011-03-19 09:58

Sana’a – Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators continued to gather in Taghyeer Square today, a day after President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced a nationwide state of emergency.

Saleh declared a state of emergency for 30 days across the country after 50 protesters were killed amid reports that police opened fire upon them after Friday prayers.

The state of emergency also includes a ban on weapons possession by civilians.

Yemeni legal experts, however, say that a state of emergency is not constitutional because there is no emergency law in the country.

The Ministry of the Interior said a curfew and other measures to ease the tension were still being discussed.

Yemeni Tourism Minister Nabil al-Faqih resigned from his post and quit the ruling party yesterday to protest the use of violence against protesters.

Al-Faqih was the first Cabinet member to defect since protests began, the Yemen Post news website reported.

Eyewitnesses said security agents in civilian clothes fired live bullets at protesters from roof tops yesterday, aiming at the head and chest.

However, Saleh denied that police fired at protesters and said thugs had infiltrated protesters camping near the Sana’a University.

The president also formed a non-partisan committee to investigate violence that took place among protests taking place in Sana’a, Taiz and Hudeidah provinces, expressing sorrow for the killings and promised to compensate families of the victims.

The demonstrations, demanding the ouster of Saleh, started in Yemen on February 11, following popular uprisings against long-time rulers in Tunisia and Egypt. 

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