Protests against Yemeni regime enter fifth day

SANAA: Anti-government protests inspired by the Egyptian uprising continue for the fifth day in a row in Yemen as riot police and supporters of the regime clashed with anti-government protesters in the capital city.

About 1,000 protesters marching to the presidential residence in the capital Sana'a on Tuesday were attacked by pro-government supporters after riot police prevented them from reaching the palace.

"People want the regime to fall; People want President (Ali Abdullah) Saleh and his family to leave," the protesters chanted, Xinhua news agency reported.

Several protesters were injured after police tried to disperse the crowd.

Meanwhile, protests continue across Yemen. Hundreds of people continue demanding the departure of President Saleh in Taiz province since Friday. Early Monday, police arrested scores of the protesters and released them several hours later, the Yemen Post reported.

Police in Sana'a, Taiz, Aden and Hodeida and other cities are thwarting protests inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The government is tightening security as more citizens continue to join rallies across the country to protest against high unemployment rates, corruption, and inadequate living conditions. The police has beaten them with stun batons, and it has also fired live ammunition in the air in an attempt to disperse the protesters.

Yemen's Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said that the country will not fall in political crises similar to those in Tunisia and Egypt because Yemen has conducted dialogue with the opposition, the state-run Saba news agency reported Tuesday.

In an interview with France Press 24, al-Qirbi said the government gives them the right to demonstrate, adding "the most important thing in Yemen, contrary to governments of Tunisia and Egypt, the ruling party has never cut relations with the opposition."

Human Rights Watch has urged the Yemeni government to stop using excessive force and to investigate those responsible for attacks against demonstrators amid reports the regime has hired bullies for protests, the Yemen Post reported.

On Sunday, bullies said to be soldiers in civil uniform attacked protesters.

Yemen has been witnessing protests since Tunisian ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali escaped to Saudi Arabia and they have gathered momentum with the success of Egypt's revolution.

President Saleh, who has been in power since 1978, pledged earlier this month not to seek his reelection in 2013 or hand over power to his son. On Sunday, the country's opposition accepted the political reform initiative.

The poorest country in the Arab world, Yemen has suffered several internal conflicts in recent times, including a growing threat of al-Qaeda militants. In addition to the conflicted northern region, southern Yemen is also volatile due to a separatist movement and frequent attacks against security forces.


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