Written By: Fares Anam
Article Date: Feb 20, 2011 - 9:55:34 AM
Protests in Yemen continued this week as around 300 protesters demonstrated in front of Sana’a University’s gates on Sunday in the capital city – but the streets were more peaceful.
The protest scene appeared calm and there were no clashes between pro- and anti-governmental supporters. Police officials monitored the demonstration to ensure that there were no clashes as had occurred in recent days across the country.
An official source at the Ministry of Interior meanwhile denied on Saturday any media reports that claimed that the killing of one student during clashes on that day between some pro- and anti-government supporters in Sana’a. The source pointed out that the security services rushed to the fight that took place in front of Sana’a University gates, indicating that a number of protesters were injured though.
Most of the injured were taken to hospitals and four patients required treatment. The source said that the clash took place in front of the university gate and that there has been no clash in the campus. By yesterday, the tenth day of protests had passed in Yemen. In Sana’a, these demonstrations turned increasingly violent after Friday prayers last week as Central Security officers tried thrice to stop anti-government demonstrations by creating a human barrier while holding wooden sticks.
Anti-government protesters wanted President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down while pro-government protesters want him to stay. Some demonstrators chanted phrases condemning Saleh. “The people want to topple the regime” and “Go out Saleh” were among their demands. They marched from Sana’a University to al-Zubairy Street which is one of the most important streets in Sana’a. Here they encountered the pro-government protestors. Some of the anti-government demonstrators carried stones, in case they were attacked by pro-government demonstrators.
It is not clear who threw the first stone, but violent attacks were perpetrated by both sides. Security forces tried to stop the conflict but it was futile. Anti-government demonstrators had been pushed back by the pro-government demonstrators who outnumbered them. Journalists did not escape safely from this demonstration.
An Al-Arabia TV reporter was attacked during the conflict and his cameraman’s camera was confiscated. Sana’a was not the only city that witnessed demonstrations or violence.
Citizens have demonstrated in Taiz, Aden and Mukalla. An official security source in Aden, quoted on the website of the Ministry of Interior, said that demonstrations there led to two deaths and 19 injuries, which included five soldiers in al-Mansoura, Crater, Khormaksar and Sheikh Othman districts. He also denied some media reports about allegations that security forces opened fire on protesters. In Taiz, nine persons were accused of throwing a bomb at protesters. One anti-government protester died and many were injured when men passing by in a car threw a grenade at the protesters.
• Offensive against militants drives US drone campaign, tribes claim
• Family to hand over militants should drone campaign cease
• Government says Al Qaeda deputy amir dead, experts skeptical