Yemen's pro-democracy demonstrators attacked

40 people were killed since protests began

SANAA - Five Yemeni protesters were wounded in an overnight attack by masked men on a sit-in in central Sanaa calling for the fall of the regime, witnesses and activists said Thursday.
Witnesses said the attack on demonstrators in the square in front of Sanaa University was carried out by men wearing masks, whom anti-government activists said were "thugs" loyal to the regime.
The attackers used guns, clubs and daggers.
Meanwhile, at least 10 people were wounded on Wednesday when police opened fire with live rounds on anti-government demonstrators in Yemen's western port city of Al-Hudaydah, medics said.
Police firing both tear gas and bullets intervened after pro-regime loyalists attacked protesters with batons and rocks, witnesses said.
At least 200 protesters suffered breathing difficulties after the tear gas attack, medics said, adding that nearly 20 people were stabbed and some 30 others were injured by rocks.
The violence erupted following a pro-government demonstration by supporters of the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) in Al-Hudaydah.
Protests across Yemen against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule, inspired by similar popular uprisings across the Arab world, have been marred by violence that has left some 40 people dead.
Yemen is a US ally in the war against Al-Qaeda, and is also fighting Shiite rebels in the north and a secessionist movement in the south.
In the northeastern provincial capital of Al-Jawf, three GPC loyalists were wounded in clashes with opposition supporters on the third straight day of attempts by both sides to gain control of government headquarters there, a local official said.
An activist with the main Islamist opposition Al-Islah (Reform) party was shot dead in a gunfight with pro-regime loyalists in Al-Jawf on Tuesday, a security official has said.
And on Monday, 20 people demanding Saleh's resignation were injured when they assaulted the government headquarters in Al-Jawf, northeast of Sanaa, an official said.
Security forces and pro-regime loyalists, who were guarding the building and opened fire in an effort to break up the protest, were wounded by stones hurled by the protesters.
On February 22, Al-Jawf, a stronghold of the Zaidi rebels, also known as Huthis, joined anti-Saleh protests that erupted across the poverty-striken country in January and gained momentum last month.
The Zaidis fought six wars with Saleh's government forces from 2004 before signing a truce in February 2010.