Thousands of protesters in Yemen urge Saleh to resign

April 7, 2011 - 0:0

SANAA (Agencies) - Tens of thousands of people pressed opposition demands on Wednesday for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign.

According to Reuters, tens of thousands resumed protests in Taiz, south of Sanaa, on Wednesday and security forces shot in the air to try to disperse them. There were no reports of casualties.
Saleh has insisted for weeks he will leave once he has overseen parliamentary and presidential elections this year, rejecting an opposition proposal to allow the vice president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to become temporary head of state.
Opposition sources have said talks stalled in recent weeks over Saleh's demands that he and his family should not face prosecution over corruption accusations by the opposition.
On Tuesday, an opposition source said security forces in the southern port city of Aden had detained six people for mobilizing students to join a civil disobedience campaign that has kicked off in South Yemen in recent days, with shops, schools and some government offices closed for part of the day.
On Monday, security forces and armed men in civilian clothes fired on protesters in Taiz and the Red Sea port of Hudaida, killing 21 people.
World needs to intervene: Amnesty
Meanwhile, Amnesty International cited an eyewitness who said most of the protesters killed on March 18 were shot in the head, chest and neck, and left to die at the scene.
The international community needs to step up and ""play a more active role"" in investigating the deaths of protesters in Yemen, Amnesty International said in the latest report about the ongoing situation in Yemen, CNN reported.
""The Yemeni government has an abysmal record of failing to investigate or prosecute those responsible for unlawful killings and torture or other ill-treatment,"" said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa.
In its report, ""Moment of Truth for Yemen,"" Amnesty International criticized Yemen's government for failing to release details about its investigation into the ""scores"" of protester deaths from the live ammunition used to break up demonstrations.
More than 100 people have been killed since anti-government protests began in Yemen, including the March 18 killings of 52 anti-government protesters by rooftop snipers in Sanaa.
That incident, which led Saleh to declare a state of emergency, prompted top Yemeni generals, ambassadors and some tribes to back the protesters, in a major blow to the president.
Frustration with Saleh's intransigence may push Yemenis, many of them heavily armed and no strangers to wars and insurgencies, closer to a violent power struggle.
Photo: Thousands of Yemenis protest in a fresh call for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign in Taiz on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.