At least a dozen anti-regime protesters have been killed and thirty wounded in the town of Taiz in Southern Yemen by snipers firing from rooftops, according to a media as cited by Al Jazeera.
As thousands of demonstrators marched through the poverty-stricken town demanding the immediate resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, government soldiers blocked their progress when they reached the governor’s headquarters. A clash ensued, followed by security forces firing live ammunition at protesters from nearby rooftops.
The uprising against Saleh has now gone on for more than one month with little progress having been made between opposing camps.
Monday also witnessed protests in Mukalla and Hudeida, in solidarity with the Taiz disturbances.
According to witnesses, protesters sought to march on a presidential palace in Hudeida, but were greeted by security forces, who opened fire with tear gas and live ammunition. More than 200 people were wounded, according to Al Jazeera.
A witness in Hudeida told Reuters: They suddenly gathered around the province's administrative building and headed to the presidential palace, but police stopped them by firing gunshots in the air and using tear gas. I saw a lot of plainclothes police attack them too.”
Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for more than three decades, has offered to step down by the end of the year, but opposition groups demand his immediate departure. They also want assurances that no one in Saleh’s family will have any position in any future government.
On Saturday, an opposition coalition called the Common Forum, called on Saleh to hand over power to his deputy, Vice-President Abdu Rabu Hadi.
Meanwhile, the U.S., a strong ally of Saleh, is stuck in a quandary. While the Obama administration wants a peaceful resolution to the crisis, they remain skittish about components of Yemen’s opposition group.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has warned that Saleh’s fall would present a real problem for America.
Another powerful Saleh ally, Saudi Arabia, regards the Yemeni leader as a strong defense against incursions by al-Qaeda into the region.