The escalating movement against Yemen’s President has even reached into the country’s prison system
Yemeni riot police have reportedly fired warning shots and used night-sticks to beat back prisoners in the central jail of the nation’s capital, Sanaa, after they demanded the overthrow of Ali Abdullah Saleh, according to a security official.
According to Agence France Presse, a group of inmates gathered in the courtyard chanting the people want to overthrow the regime.”
It was an attempt at a mass escape, and prisoners then turned to acts of sabotage, anothrt prison official told Reuters.
It is not believed that any Al-Qaeda members are at this compound.
This was a politically motivated event by the inmates to echo the same demands that have been mentioned everywhere in the country, said a reporter for Al Jazeera.
The security forces responded by firing tear gas canisters and gunshots were also heard. There is now a security presence outside the facility. We are told the situation is contained but there are reports of injured people.
More than two dozen protesters have been killed and hundreds injured across Yemen over the past month and a half, as opposition to President Saleh show no signs of abating.
In fact, several members of Saleh's ruling General People’s Congress (JPC), including members of parliament and some ministers, have quit the party to protest against the violence directed by state security used against anti-government demonstrators.
Thousands of Yemenis across the country, representing a wide swath of society – from students, to socialists, to shopkeepers to Islamists – have joined the anti-government movement and are demanding that Saleh leave office immediately.
Over the weekend, Ali Al-Imrani, an MP from al-Baida, and Fathi Tawfiq Abdulrahim, head of the finance committee of the parliament, resigned from the JPC on Saturday.
Sam Yahya Al-Ahmar, the deputy culture minister, Hashid Abdullah al-Ahmar, the deputy minister for youth and sports and Nabil Al-Khameri, a businessman, have also left the ruling party.
A total of 13 MPs belonging to JPC have now resigned.
Saleh has rejected the opposition’s plan to gracefully ease him out of office and has insisted he will finish his term, which expires in 2013.