Yemen protesters clash with regime loyalists

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Sanaa, Feb 22 (AFP) Supporters of Yemen President AliAbdullah Saleh armed with daggers and batons clashed violentlywith students today in Sanaa before police intervened, an AFPreporter said, adding five people were hurt.

About 1,000 students had spent a second night campedat a square near Sanaa university, dubbed Al-Huriya (Liberty)Square, where they today erected a huge tent.

The crowd swelled to about 4,000 and as the protestersdemanding Saleh''s ouster moved this morning from the squareclose to where Saleh''s loyalists are bunkered down, the groupattacked them with daggers and batons.

The students, some of whom were also armed withbatons, responded.

Three students and two of Saleh''s loyalists werewounded before police dispersed the crowd, the reporter said.

Loyalists demonstrating in support of Saleh in centralSanaa have almost daily broken up students protests usingbatons and stones, with police also using violence that hasleft scores of demonstrators injured.

The ruling General People''s Congress party meanwhilecalled for a "demonstration of millions" tomorrow inAl-Sabiine square, near the presidential palace.

Also today, thousands of protesters took to thestreets in several neighbourhoods of the southern city ofAden, calling on Saleh to step down.

The protesters marched against the regime in Crater,Al-Mansura, Mualla, Al-Tawahi and Sheikh Osman neighbourhoods.

Security forces fired warning shots and tear gas todisperse protesters in Sheikh Osman, Al-Tawahi and Muallaneighbourhoods but no casualties were reported, witnessessaid.

The protesters carried banners reading: "The peoplewant to overthrow the regime" and "Go go Ali."Hundreds took to the streets in Mualla where theyblocked roads and set car tyres alight.

According to an AFP tally based on reports by medics,12 people have been killed and dozens more in Aden woundedsince February 16.

The interior ministry yesterday put the death toll atfour, according to the official Saba news agency.

A tribal leader in the country''s north told AFPyesterday that tens of thousands also demonstrated in thegroup''s stronghold of Saada to demand the president step down.

The Zaidi Shiite rebel movement from 2004 fought sixwars with Saleh''s government before signing a truce inFebruary 2010.

Around a dozen opposition MPs, who vowed to take tothe streets in a statement issued on Sunday, have also joinedstudents who have been protesting for the past 10 days.

But in power for 32 years, Saleh vowed on Monday notto quit under popular pressure and accused his opponents offuelling the demonstrations. (AFP)

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