Shots fired at Yemen protesters in Sanaa

Reuters , Sunday 20 Feb 2011

Pro-Saleh demonstrators attempted to disperse an anti-government protest as shots were fired in the 9th day of Yemen's uprising

A supporter of the Yemeni government holds a poster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and waves a dagger during a clash with anti-government demonstrators, unseen, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday 14 February 2011. (AP)

Supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh tried to break up a demonstration by opponents of the government on Sunday and shots were fired as unrest in the country entered its ninth straight day.

As many as 50 government supporters tried to disrupt the demonstration by more than 1,000 Saleh opponents gathered outside Sanaa University chanting "Leave, Ali".

One Saleh supporter fired shots from an assault rifle, but there were no reported casualties and Saleh's supporters soon dispersed, while the protesters continued their demonstration.

Both sides fired weapons on Saturday in protests outside the university; the first reported use of firearms by demonstrators. Several protesters were hurt in those clashes, while five people were wounded, apparently by stray bullets, in the southern town of Sheikh Othman.

Five people were killed in protests against Saleh's 32-year rule on Friday. He blamed a "foreign agenda" and a "conspiracy against Yemen, its security and stability" for the string of protests against poverty, unemployment and corruption which have gained momentum since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Saleh, a US ally against a Yemen-based Al-Qaeda wing that has launched attacks at home and abroad, is struggling to end month-old protests flaring across his impoverished country.

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