40 injured as Yemen police opens fire on protestors
SANAA - Almost 40 protesters were injured when police opened fire Monday to disperse demonstrations in Yemen, a strategic US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, officials said.
The violence came after eight people were killed in weekend clashes with security forces, sparking condemnation and calls for restraint from the United Nations and Western powers.
Twenty people demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power for 32 years, were injured when they tried to assault the government headquarters in Jawf, northeast of the capital Sanaa, an official said.
Security forces and pro-regime loyalists guarding the building opened fire. Two loyalists were injured by stones hurled by the protesters.
In Marib province, east of Sanaa, 17 protesters were injured in similar circumstances when security forces opened fire to prevent them storming the local government headquarters.
Some 40 people have been killed in political violence since unrest erupted in the deeply tribal country at the end of January, as pro-democracy revolts shook the Arab world.
In a speech to tens of thousands of people at Sanaa's stadium on Thursday, Saleh promised to protect protesters from violence and offered to hold a referendum on a new constitution which would devolve power to parliament.
The United States, which sees Saleh as a pillar of stability in a fragile nation, welcomed the gesture, but Yemen's parliamentary opposition says the president has lost all credibility and must resign this year.