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  • 3/9/2011

Yemeni military takes to the streets


Yemen's armed forces took to the streets of Sanaa on Tuesday for the first time since anti-regime protests began earlier this year.

The military surrounded the Presidential Palace and Sanaa University, where protesters have been camping out, DPA reported.

This came as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the southern governorate of Shabwa and the eastern governorate of Dhamar to demand an end to the 33-year rule of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Police used live ammunition to disperse thousands of peaceful protesters, but no deaths or causalities were reported.

Observers said it was too early to tell whether the armed forces were moving in to suppress the protests or if they would align themselves with the protesters, as was the case in Tunisia and Egypt.

And for the first time since the protests started in Yemen, graffiti against President Saleh surfaced in his birthplace, the farming village of Sanhan just outside Sanaa, AP reported.

------Yemeni prisoners riot, call for Saleh’s ouster

In another development, about 2,000 inmates staged a riot at a prison in the Yemeni capital after taking a dozen guards hostage and joined calls by the protesters for Saleh to step down, a security official said on Tuesday.

The riot in the central prison in the capital began late on Monday when prisoners set their blankets and mattresses ablaze and occupied the facility's main courtyard, the official said.

The guards fired tear gas and gunshots into the air but failed to subdue the prisoners, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. He said troops beefed up security outside the prison on Tuesday and that a number of inmates were hurt in the unrest. According to the official, the prison revolt was still going on Tuesday.

Yemen has been rocked by weeks of protests against Saleh, inspired by recent uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia that ousted those nations' leaders.

A crowd of women joined a demonstration Tuesday in the southern port city of Aden after a young protester was critically wounded by a bullet to the head during a rally there the previous day. Local officials said 25 protesters were arrested during Monday's demonstration.

Also, tens of thousands took to the streets in the cities of the southern province of Ibb on Tuesday, calling on the government to bring to justice those responsible for a deadly attack there Sunday by what opposition activists said were “government thugs” who descended on protesters camped out on a main square. One person was killed in that violence and 53 people were hurt.

In the southeastern province of Dhamar, which witnessed small demonstrations in the past two weeks, thousands took to the streets on Tuesday calling for Saleh's ouster.

Photo: Protests demanding an end to Saleh's rule have been raging across Yemen for more than a month now. (Reuters photo)

Source: tehrantimes.com

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