31 protesters killed in Yemen
Sanaa, Mar 18: Yemeni security forces firing from rooftops and houses shot at tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators, killing at least 31 as the protesters entered a downtown square in the capital to demand the ouster of their autocratic president.
Today's violence is the harshest response yet from President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key ally in the US campaign against al-Qaida who has ruled Yemen for 30 years.
Thousands also rallied today in the cities of Taiz and Adan, their protests inspired by the unrest across the Arab world that toppled rulers in Egypt and Tunisia. But the government response has been far harsher in Yemen.
Demonstrators have camped out in squares across Yemen for over a month to demand that Saleh leave office. Security forces and pro-government thugs have used live fire, rubber bullets, tear gas, sticks, knives and rocks to suppress them. The protesters say they won't go until Saleh does.
Before the shooting today in Sanaa, a military helicopter flew low over the square as protesters arrived from prayers.
Thick gunfire soon erupted from rooftops and houses near one of the square's main entries, sending protesters scrambling for cover.
Doctors at the makeshift field hospital near the protest camp at Sanaa University confirmed at least 31 dead, three of them children.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media. (AP)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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