Yemen: Another Life Claimed on Eighth Day of Protests

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

Protests in Yemen against President Ali Abdullah Saleh entered into an eighth day on Saturday with more demonstrations throughout much of the country. Clashes between protesters and the military seem to be worsening by the day since the demonstrations began on February 11.

At least six protesters have died in Yemen since February 16, and one more protester was reportedly killed on Saturday, on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen's capital, according to AFP. Al Jazeera reported that a group of roughly 1,000 anti-regime protesters clashed with a group of 300-400 pro-Saleh protesters. Some people said they heard gunshots amidst the crowds. The Yemen Post reported that four people were arrested in Saana.

Saleh has been in power for more than three decades, and protesters complain his regime is corrupt and incited to violence. As protesters in Egypt clamored for Honsi Mubarek to step down earlier this month, Saleh hoped to head-off domestic criticism by promising not to seek re-election when his term ends in 2013. Saleh claims foreign sources have influenced opposition protesters, who may destabilize the country.

Here is a video of street protests and gunshots near Saana University.

The Waq al-Waq blog provided an overview of Saturday's events:

The day started off bad in Sanaa when students managed to beat [ruling party General People's Congress]-paid thugs* to the area outside of Sanaa University. (Michelle Shephard details the day in an excellent report for the Toronto star.) After that things got worse. In addition to the usual stick-wielding thugs, some of the men, reported to be tribesmen, opened fire on the students, wounding several…

But the escalation is a worrying sign, even more so in the light of the fact that many reporters on the ground (local Yemeni reporters) said that they recognized security officials among the plain clothes GPC-thugs. There were also unconfirmed reports that the government has trucked in tribesmen from outside Sanaa to attempt to put down the students’ protests.

Things were relatively peaceful today in Taizz after yesterday's grenade attack…

Aden was more violent, although some of this was tempered today by security forces moving out of certain areas. Last night protesters in Aden burned a police station and several government vehicles.

Here are a few Tweets from later in the day:

@shephardm: They have been marching since Sanaa University without incident, following this afternoon's violence. #yemen. #yf.

@nazaninemoshiri: Our Al Jazeera team in #Yemen is being intimidated. Things are so bad they can't leave office.

@HarunAlAmriki: Saba Net: Two deaths, 19 injured in vandalism acts in #Aden #yemen

@WomanfromYemen:Today,#alisaleh threatened people that “he has not sent the police & army to suppress protests yet” what a blatant lie! #yemen #yf

@ionacraig: Hid in an alleyway with @jebboone to escape aggressive riot police. Woman in house above throwing rocks down at us. Home safe #yemen

Reporters Without Borders currently ranks Yemen 170 out of 178 nations in its press freedom index, placing the country between Rwanda and China.

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

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