TAIZ, YEMEN : At least eleven protesters were killed during clashes with security forces in southwestern Yemen, the Yemen Post reported on Monday.
According to medical staff, nine demonstrators were killed on Sunday and two more died on Monday. Protesters clashed with Yemeni law agents in the main street and a square of Taiz city.
Taiz Governor Hamoud al-Soufi denied reports of civilian deaths and said that riot police was deployed to control clashes that he claimed were provoked by infiltrators and some ‘young hotheads’.
Al-Soufi added that they threw stones at the security forces and as a result eight police officers were injured, one seriously. However, local media and witnesses said that the riot police were shooting at unarmed protesters.
On Sunday, hundreds of thousands staged a peaceful demonstration to demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The police intercepted the massive demonstration heading to the Taiz government building.
The protesters departed from the main square and police officers used live ammunition and nerve gas against them for hours. On Monday, demonstrations continued in both Taiz and Sana’a.
The demonstrators condemned the deadly crackdown on the anti-Saleh protests in Taiz and other cities. They marched through the streets of Sana’a and gathered in Change Square outside Sana’a University.
In addition, a deadly crackdown between protesters and police officers took place in the western province of Hodeida. Hundreds of people attempted to reach the republican palace but police fired at them, killing at least 8 protesters and wounding many more.
President Saleh blamed the unrest on a foreign agenda and added that some hostile media outlets have exaggerated about the situation in Yemen. He recently fired his government and then designated it as caretaker until a new government is formed.
The decision was announced after 52 protesters were killed by security forces on March 25. Yemeni protesters have been demanding the resignation of Saleh for the past two months. The demonstrations were initially inspired by the Tunisian revolt, but they gathered momentum with the success of Egypt’s revolution.