32 dead in Yemen protest bloodbath: Medics

Last Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 - 23:51

Sanaa: Yemen`s capital turned into a
bloodbath with at least 32 people killed as regime loyalists on Friday raked pro-democracy protesters with bullets, in the
deadliest clash in nearly a month of unrest, medics said.

Witnesses said pro-Saleh "thugs" opened fire on
protesters from rooftops around a square at Sanaa University,
after demonstrators attempted to dismantle a barricade.

At least 32 people were killed and more than 200
wounded, shooting the death toll up to more than 70 since the
outbreak of demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah
Saleh`s 32-year rule.

Yemeni parliamentary opposition spokesman Mohammed
al-Sabri accused the regime of a "massacre" and said "these
killings will not help keep Ali Abdullah Saleh in power."

Thousands of people have camped out in the square
since February 21, demanding the departure of Saleh, an
autocratic US ally in the war against al Qaeda who has been in
power since 1978.

In the southern city of Aden, a hotbed of unrest
even before the protests, tens of thousands of people today
attended the funeral of a protester who was killed earlier
this week, witnesses said.

"Ali you killer, Ali you slaughterer," their
banners read. Mourners chanted: "The people want to overthrow
the regime."

Police fired warning shots but there were no
reports of clashes.

Dozens of people have been killed and many more
wounded in clashes around the country since March 10, when
Saleh promised to protect protesters from violence and offered
to devolve power to parliament under a new constitution.

The United States, which sees Saleh as a pillar of
stability in a fragile nation, welcomed the gesture, but
Yemen`s parliamentary opposition says the president has lost
all credibility and must resign this year.

On Thursday, at least 20 people were wounded and
about 200 suffered from tear-gas inhalation when anti-regime
protesters clashed with loyalists and police in Sanaa and the
city of Taez, medics and witnesses said.

Masked men wielding guns, clubs and daggers
attacked the Sanaa University protesters, wounding five, on
Wednesday.

The parliamentary opposition accused Salah`s regime
of committing "crimes against humanity," including with the
use of "toxic gases" against the protesters.

"President Saleh`s son and his nephews who control
the Republican Guard Forces and the national security forces
(are) responsible for these crimes," it said in a statement on
Wednesday.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 18, 2011 - 23:51

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