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Yemeni Protesters Defy President Saleh; 12 Killed

Yemeni Protesters Defy President Saleh; 12 Killed

Government forces and plainclothes supporters of Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh opened fire on protesters in the capital of Sanaa on Saturday. 12 were killed. Protesters had been calling for the resignation of Saleh, who recently turned to Yemen after spending months receiving medical treatment after an assassination attempt in his presidential compound in June. The renewed suppression has diminished hopes for any kind of negotiations to end the political crisis that has now entered its ninth month in Yemen, with drastic consequences for the country’s already weak economy and with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other terrorist groups taking control of large areas of Yemen’s southern provinces.

Some 100,000 people, including women and children, had left the tent city in Change Square and marched towards Sanaa. They were met with sniper fire and plain-clothed government loyalists armed with steel batons. But protesters continued their march, some young men baring their chests in defiance as the crowd shouted “Oh Ali Saleh, the courts are waiting for you.” In the afternoon, clashes also arose between soldiers under Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar, who defected to side with the protesters, and the elite Republican Guard, which is led by one of Saleh’s sons.

Among those struck was a cameraman for Al Jazeera, who was shot in the knee. A number of cameramen have been killed in Yemen, and suspicions have arisen that they are being targeted.

United Nations To Issue Resolution About Yemen

Next week, the United Nations Security Council is to vote on a resolution that calls for Saleh to resign immediately, in return for immunity from prosecution. The Yemeni government is urging the UN to avoid such a resolution, but protesters feel otherwise:

Protesters are hoping to see decisive action from the security council. Many in the anti-Saleh camp accuse both Riyadh and Washington of supporting Saleh, who had once been their ally against al-Qaida‘s Yemen-based wing. They accuse the west of adopting double standards by supporting the pro-democracy uprising in Libya but not in Yemen.

“We ask the west and our neighbours in the Gulf to withdraw their support for Saleh and his sons in order to stop this blood from spilling,” said Dr Tariq Noman, a surgeon who has given up his job in a private hospital to treat the wounded.

Doctors say that people are dying because of a shortage of medical supplies. Most of those who have died were shot in the head, neck or chest.

Militants Killed

A senior Al Qaeda figure was among nine killed in southern Yemen by airstrikes believed to have been carried out by American drones on Saturday, according to the country’s defense ministry. All those who died have yet to be confirmed. Abdelrahman al-Awlaki , the 17-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and propagandist for Al Qaeda who was killed last month by a US drone strike, is said to be among those killed.

The American drone strike that struck Awlaki has been controversial, as he was killed without a trial:

The United States has arguedthat he had taken on an operational role in the organization, plotting attacks against Americans, which made him a legitimate target.

The killing of his son in a drone attack on Friday night, if confirmed, would be the third time an American was killed by such a United States attack in Yemen, although it was not clear if the son was an intended target. A second American, Samir Khan, the editor of Al Qaeda’s online magazine, was killed in the attack on Mr. Awlaki, which was launched from a new secret C.I.A. base on the Arabian Peninsula.

Two other relatives of the Awlaki family were among those killed on Friday night, but it is not clear if they ere Al Qaeda members. A key gas pipeline was also blown up in the airstrike.

Previous Care2 Coverage

10 Month Old Boy Among 83 Killed in Yemen (Video)

At Least 22 Yemeni Protesters Killed As Troops Open Fire (Video)

Nine Month Stalemate in Yemen

 

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Photo taken in August 2011 by Al Jazeera English

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18 comments

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2:30PM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

@Dominic C.;@Patricia M.;@Nicole G.: AGREED!

8:36PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Kristina C,

Can you tell us which side is really better? If Saleh goes, who takes over? Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood? Do you really think that will be better? Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and diametrically opposed to democracy. It's Sharia only.

Do you think this is really better, Kristina? Is it alright that women will be treated like dirt? Is it okay that homosexuals will be murdered? Is this the kind of world Care2 Causes writers really want to promote?

5:04PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

How does a person have the unmitigated gall to think that they can simply end the life of a person who doesn't agree with them? Thank heaven for karma in such situations!!

4:57PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Saleh should go.

2:23PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

"If everybody would just stay home and tend to their own backyards..." The truer statement is America is damn if we do and damn if we don't. We have been condemned for not doing enough in Egypt, nothing in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, and even Iran, but we have also been condemned for helping NATO in Libya, going into Afghanistan and rightfully criticized for going into Iraq.

This is why I think that some kind of International Special Forces should be put together so that when tyrants start shooting their own citizens for protesting, being politically active or other reasons and sanctions and other peaceful measures don’t work they should be able to use covert operations to arrest and hand over the leaders responsible for those crimes to the Hague. It is the right thing to do, to save citizens from being murder by their own political leaders. But America cannot and should not be the only one policing the world, it is too much to ask any one country. It should be the responsibility of all freedom loving countries; and maybe, just maybe, if a few of these cruel leaders were arrested and held accountable for their crimes, others might just think twice about following in their footsteps.

12:10PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

thanks

11:40AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Poor America! I seriously mean that. It seems that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
If everybody would just stay home and tend to their own backyards...

Life is but a dream.

11:19AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

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Thanks again. Best Regards.

10:47AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

This is a sad and serious issue. Our US government needs to develop a comprehensive, fair, and consistent policy for the Middle East supported by our allies worldwide ... that is not dictated by the financial interests of multinational corporations.

10:31AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

@Abdulaziz A., I totally agree with your comment. We need to clean up our own mess before we have the unmitigated gall to interfere with another countries political structure - especially when we choose someone to back (pay off) a tyrant who's there only to subdue the population while the rape of their country's resources is our main agenda.

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