Protests rattle major cities across Yemen

April 14th, 2011 - 5:36 am ICT by IANS  

Sana’a, April 14 (IANS) Anti-government protests rattled Yemen’s major cities Wednesday after President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents reached another deadlock following the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s conciliation plan earlier this week.

At least 17 protesters were injured in clashes with police and government supporters in Yemen’s southern province of Ibb Wednesday, Xinhua quoted witnesses as saying.

“The two sides clashed near Ibb University as protesters demanding an immediate end to the long time rule of Saleh defended themselves by throwing stones,” a witness told Xinhua over phone, adding “at least four protesters wounded by gunshots were now in hospital”.

About 80 km southeast of Ibb, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Al-Bayda province Wednesday, according to a local official.

Meanwhile, protesters continued their rallies Wednesday in southern provinces of Dhamar, Taiz, Hadramout and Aden, where at least two protesters were shot dead and dozens of others were wounded in clashes with police.

The ruling party’s website said at least two policemen in Aden were injured by gunshots of protesters that belong to the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP).

Elsewhere, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the northern provinces of Saada and Al-Hodeida, as well as the capital city of Sana’a, where protesters Wednesday marched in streets close to the presidential palace in downtown Sana’a.

Earlier in the day, some 10,000 Yemeni officers and soldiers of the Republican Guard, Central Security and Air Forces in Sana’a, declared defection from the government to join anti-government protesters, an army official said.

The new wave of defectors came hours after a gunfight took place between dissident soldiers and pro-government security forces, leaving at least six dead from both sides.

Yemen has been witnessing daily anti-government protests across major provinces since mid-February.

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