State security officers in the Yemeni capitol of Sanaa have fired at a large number of student protesters outside the university, resulting in at least 98 wounded and injured people.
Six of the wounded were in serious condition, according to reports.
The security regiment –many of whom were dressed as civilians -- reportedly fired rubber bullets, tear gas and live rounds at the crowds.
The government troops were attempting to prevent thousands of demonstrators from joining a protest on campus demanding the immediate resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Opposition parties’ spokesman Muhammad Qahtan described the incident a massacre.
“It is a crime by security troops against students engaged in a peaceful sit-in, he told the Associated Press.
The protesters are also calling for expanded job opportunities, an end to official corruption, and a more equitable distribution of wealth.
There were also reports of anti-government movements in various other Yemeni cities, including Ataq and Aden.
Reuters reported that in Ataq, hundreds of children demonstrated chanting No studying, no teaching until the president falls.
In the town of Dhamar, thousands of protesters shouted Leave! leave!, two days after Saleh supporters held a rally there.
Saleh has so far refused to stand down before his term expires in 2013 and also vowed to defend his rule with every drop of blood.
Across the board, what you're seeing is that more and more people are really starting to crystallize around this single call for the president to step down, Princeton University Yemen scholar Gregory Johnsen said, according to Reuters.
Yemen wants more money to come in and Saleh wants to try and fragment the protesters as much as he can. President Saleh is trying to string this out as long as possible in the hopes he can pit different interest groups against one another, added Johnsen.
Yemen’s foreign minister Abubakr al-Qirbi attributed the unrest to a worsening economy and bleak job prospects for the nation’s rapidly expanding youth population.
What we need is really development and economic growth because the present political crisis is really as a result of the economic situation in Yemen, he said at a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Meanwhile, as protests against him grow in size and fury, Saleh seems more determined to respond with violent force.