Yemeni police open fire on protesters, 14 injured

AFP , Friday 11 Mar 2011

After president Saleh's reform offer, police opened fire on protestors calling for him to step down

Police opened fire Friday on anti-government protesters in Yemen, a day after embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh offered sweeping political reform, witnesses said.

Despite Saleh's promises to protect the demonstrators, security forces used tear gas and live bullets to disperse thousands of people who marched toward Aden's Khor Maksar neighbourhood to demand democratic change.

At least 14 people were injured, including two who appeared to have been shot with live bullets, hospital staff said.

The demonstrators were carrying banners reading "Ali, tyrant, leave" and "For the sake of our martyrs, leave" as they marched toward Khor Maksar, where foreign consulates are located. Police had cordoned off the area.

In the capital, a massive crowd of mourners attended the funeral of a protester who had been shot on Wednesday when police attacked student demonstrators near Sanaa University.

"The people want to overthrow the president," people chanted as they poured into a square near the university that has become the epicentre of anti-regime protests raging since late January.

"We call on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to listen to the demands of the protesters in all the provinces," said Abdul Wahab al-Dulaimi, who led Friday prayers for students who are manning a protest camp at the university.

Saleh loyalists crowded into nearby Tahrir Square and police set up roadblocks to keep the two sides apart.

Protesters have been calling on Saleh, in power since 1978, to step down despite the his pledges of reform.

On Thursday he promised a referendum on a new constitution which would devolve power to parliament, but the offer was swiftly rejected by the opposition.

Around 30 people have died in violence since the protests began in Yemen, echoing similar unrest that has swept the region this year.

Short link: