Yemeni protesters want the ouster of President SalehImage: picture alliance / dpa
April 10, 2011
As protesters in Yemen call for help to protect them against their government's latest violent crackdown, demonstrators in Egypt and Syria have also been killed and injured in violent clashes with security forces.
Tens of thousands of Yemeni protesters marched in the capital Sanaa on Sunday, calling for the international community to take action to stop their government's violent crackdowns against demonstrators in the country.
"President Ali Abdullah Saleh does not understand any language but that of blood," one protester told the dpa news agency.
The protest comes a day after hundreds of people were injured when police used live ammunition, tear gas, batons and water cannons to break up an anti-government protest in Sanaa late Saturday night.
At least 400 people were reported to have been hospitalized after the events.
In neighboring Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met on Sunday to discuss whether an offer to mediate in Yemen's political crisis has a chance of success.
Saleh initially accepted an offer by the GCC to hold talks with opposition parties after two months of protests against his rule. But on Friday, Saleh reacted angrily to the Gulf state of Qatar last week for its suggestion that the GCC would call for Saleh's resignation and a transition of power.
"We don't get our legitimacy from Qatar or from anyone else," Saleh told tens of thousands of supporters in the capital. "We reject this belligerent intervention."
On Saturday, Yemen announced it would withdraw its ambassador from Doha.
The United States, which has viewed Saleh as an ally in its war on terrorism in recent years, has repeatedly condemned the use of violence against anti-government protesters. For two months, protesters throughout the country have demanded Saleh's resignation after more than 30 years in power.
Life after the president leaves
Meanwhile in Egypt, more than 1,000 protesters ignored an army order to leave Cairo's central Tahrir Square on Sunday. The square was the epicenter of 18 days of protests which brought down President Hosni Mubarak on February 11.
In the biggest wave of demonstrations since Mubarak resigned, protesters expressed their anger at the country's new military rulers and called for the old guard to be held to account.
Protesters chanted "revolution, revolution" and brandished an effigy of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the interim military council currently ruling Egypt. He also served as defense minister under Mubarak
Soldiers and police have used electric prods and batons to try to drive the protesters out of the square, but they refused to budge. At least one person was killed in the violence on Saturday. The demonstrators have barricaded themselves into the square with barbed wire.
Similarities in Syria
The government in Syria is also cracking down on pro-democracy uprisings. At least 17 people were killed during rallies in southern town of Daraa, where protesters were calling for political reform.
In a country where it was once unthinkable to express dissent, President Bashar Assad's authoritarian rule has been put to the test, despite his attempts to defuse resentment by making some concessions in the tightly controlled country of 20 million people.
Witnesses said the army deployed tanks in an effort to prevent any further outbreaks of protests. They claimed security forces had used live ammunition and tear gas to scatter mourners in Daraa on Saturday, after a mass funeral for protesters killed on Friday.
Heavy gunfire was heard but there were no confirmed reports of casualties. Syria has prevented news media from reporting from Daraa and mobile phones lines there appeared to be cut.