Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saleh loyalists injure 13 protesters

Yemeni demonstrators are given medical aid as they rest in a mosque following clashes with the police during an anti-government protest in Taiz on April 3, 2011

Source: Press TV

At least thirteen people have been injured after supporters of the isolated Yemeni president attacked a protest rally in the southern city of Taiz.

The incident took place as millions of anti-government protesters poured into the streets across Yemen on "Friday of Determination," demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh's immediate step down.

In the capital, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Change Square, calling for an end to Saleh's 32 years grip on power.

Crowds of Saleh loyalists also rallied in Sana'a in support of the embattled President. There were no reports of clashes between pro and anti-government demonstrators in the capital.

The Yemeni president gave a short speech to his supports in which he called himself "Yemen's legitimate leader under the constitution" and repeated his invitation for the opposition to enter a dialogue with the government.

"We call on the opposition to consult their consciences and come to dialogue and reach an agreement for security and stability of the country," Saleh told his supporters in Sana'a.

The opposition, however, has rejected entering talks with the government and has given President Saleh a two-week deadline to step down.

The opposition has also rejected a Saudi-mediated dialogue for transfer of power in Yemen which offers Saleh immunity from prosecution.

Since late January, hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for regular demonstrations in main Yemeni cities calling for corruption and unemployment to be tackled and demanding President Saleh's ouster.

The protests have been met by riot police or supporters of President Saleh armed with knives and batons.

In a move to appease the opposition, Saleh said he will not seek another term in office in 2013 but has vowed to defend his regime "with every drop of blood."

The protesters, however, rejected his offer calling it too late and are demanding his immediate resignation.

According to local sources, at least 300 people have been killed and many others injured since the beginning of anti-Saleh demonstrations in the country.

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