Seven Yemeni protesters killed in fresh unrest
ADEN - Two anti-regime protesters died in Yemen on Sunday, a day after police shot them in the head, a medic said, raising the death toll to seven from demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The two succumbed to wounds after "being shot in the head" in the southern city of Aden, said the medic, adding four other demonstrators were in a critical condition after also being shot in the head.
On Saturday, two other protesters were killed in Aden, one by police when they opened fire to disperse a demonstration and the other when demonstrators set fire to a police station in the city.
A medical official said Saturday hundreds of angry people had set ablaze the police station to protest the death of the protester earlier in the day. Several people were also wounded by gunfire, he said.
Elsewhere, a 12-year-old schoolboy was shot dead when police opened fire at a demonstration of students in the southeastern city of Mukalla.
And two other people died in the capital Sanaa on Saturday, one as police attacked demonstrators in University Square, where anti-government protesters have been staging a sit-in since February 21.
The other was shot dead by a sniper while walking to the square with a group of protesters.
Two doctors at the scene in Sanaa said that toxic gas, rather than ordinary tear gas had been used against the protesters, a claim dismissed as slander by the authorities.
The European Union, Britain and the United Nations condemned the brutal crackdown.
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton urged Saleh's government to honour promises he had made this week to protect demonstrators and uphold their right to free assembly.
The violence comes a day after 14 protesters were wounded in protests across the country.
Parts of Sanaa resembled a battleground as people passed out in the street and convulsed after inhaling gas fired at the demonstrators.
"This isn't tear gas," said Iraqi doctor Hussein al-Joshaai, a nerve specialist who was at the scene.
"This is poison gas that disables the nervous and respiratory systems. People hit by this gas pass out," he added.
Another doctor, Abdulwahab al-Inssi, said: "Those wounded today couldn't have been hit by tear gas grenades. They are suffering spasms."
The interior ministry denied the allegations as "baseless slander."
It accused protesters of opening fire at security forces who had tried to prevent clashes between demonstrators and residents near the square. It said 161 police were injured.
Saleh has insisted he will see out his term until 2013 while offering to devolve power to parliament after a referendum on a new constitution this year, an offer that the United States has welcomed.
But opposition groups had already dismissed the promise of constitutional change and have vowed to escalate protests until Saleh, in power since 1978, resigns.
More than 30 people have been killed since the unrest erupted in late January.
US special forces troops are in Yemen helping to train anti-terror forces as the country struggles to contain Al-Qaeda's local offshoot -- described by a State Department official as the biggest threat to the US homeland.