Anti-government protests in Yemen have turned lethal.

At least 30 protesters have been killed by Yemeni security forces in the capital city of Sanaa, according to media reports, and scores have been wounded. Government soldiers fired on a group of demonstrators who had assembled near the university, after Friday prayers. Some accounts claim that snipers positioned on the rooftop of surrounding buildings opened fire on protesters as well.

Most of the wounds were to the head, neck and chest, one doctor told Agence France Presse about Friday's shooting.

Al Jazeera reporters in Sanaa said many of the protesters were shot in the head and neck; while many of the injured were shot with live ammunition.

One medic described the attack as a massacre.

Reuters reported that tens of thousands of other demonstrators have gathered in other cities across Yemen, including Aden, Taiz, Ibb and Hodeidah.

While there has been no let up among protesters seeking to remove President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the state obviously will take a harder stance against them.

Saleh said he will not step down until his current term expires in 2013, vowing to defend his regime with every drop of blood.

Saleh has been in power for over three decades.