-03 [int] [ed] [top] @T= Mercenary security forces fire on Yemeni protestors, 15 killed

April 5, 2011 - 0:0

Mercenary security forces fire on Yemeni protestors, 15 killed

@K= U.S. said to press Yemeni President Saleh to go
@B= By staff and agencies
@T= SANAA -- At least 15 protesters were killed and scores injured on Monday when mercenary security forces fired at angry crowds who tried to storm the Presidential Palace and government buildings of the local authority of Taiz province.
The bloodshed came as demonstrators staged a march on the governorate headquarters in the city about 200km from the capital to demand the ouster of embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Gulf News reported.
Witnesses said the demonstrators stormed the courtyard of the governorate and that plainclothes gunmen and rooftop snipers opened fire in an attempt to push them back.
The sources, who are participating in the marches, said the clashes are continuing as protesters are insisting on marching and surrounding the government buildings. “I myself saw one protester dead in the hospital,” said Riyadh Al Adeeb, journalist and activist in Taiz.
In Taiz, south of the capital Sanaa, police shot protesters trying to storm the provincial government building, killing at least 15 people and wounding 30, hospital sources said.
""The regime has surprised us with this extent of killing. I don't think the people will do anything other than come out with bare chests to drain the government of all its ammunition,"" parliamentarian Mohammed Muqbil al-Hamiri told Al Jazeera.
Television showed a row of men, apparent tear gas victims, lying motionless and being tended by medics on the carpeted floor of a makeshift hospital in Taiz.
In the coastal city of Hudaida in the west of the country, clashes between security forces and angry protesters are also continuing. “The new is that the protesters are marching in the streets and not sitting in their tents,” Abdul Hafez Al Nehari, one of the leading protesters in Hudaida, told Gulf News.
“About 400 were injured by the teargas used by the security forces today and yesterday,” Al Nehari added.
The violent attempt to suppress mounting protests inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia came amid signs that the United States was seeking an end to Saleh's 32-year rule, Reuters reported.
As opposition forces escalated their actions against him, Saleh again appeared defiant.
""Just as you gave us your confidence, we will respond to that. We will be steadfast like the mountains,"" he told hundreds of tribesman who chanted their rejection of concessions. ""We will stay loyal to you, just as you have been loyal to constitutional legitimacy.""
Saleh has said he will not run for re-election in 2013 and could step down following new presidential and parliamentary elections within a year. On Sunday, he called on the opposition to end protests to help ease talks.
An opposition proposal would see the army and security forces restructured by a vice-president acting as temporary president ahead of political reforms and elections. The ruling party says Saleh should remain in office to oversee changes.
Thousands of protesters have camped out around Sanaa University since early February, but in the past two weeks Saleh has begun mobilizing his own supporters on the streets.
There were signs of mounting U.S. pressure on Saleh behind the scenes to go.
The New York Times on Monday said Washington had ""quietly shifted positions"" and ""concluded that he is unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office.""
The Obama administration has not so far made a public statement urging Saleh to stand aside. Such calls were key in bringing an end to the rule of Tunisia's Zine al-Abidine bin Ali and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.
Sources close to talks have said Washington had given Saleh an ultimatum last week to agree on a deal negotiated by the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa to ensure a peaceful exit and transition of power, otherwise it would publicly call on him to step down.
Opposition sources say talks have stalled because Saleh is maneuvering to ensure he and his family do not face prosecution over corruption claims the opposition has talked about.
Photo: An injured Yemeni demonstrator (C) is driven away on the back of a moped on 4, 2011 in Taiz (Taez), some 200kms from the capital Sanaa. (Getty Images)