Violence grips while the Yemeni Students , Judges Protest to remove President Saleh
JNN 17 Feb 2011 : Anti-government protests flared in Yemen for the sixth consecutive day, turning violent as protests sprang up across the country, spurred on by the resignation last week of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
In Yemen’s main southern city of Aden, security forces chased hundreds of people who took to the streets of Al-Mansura neighbourhood demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdallah Saleh. At least one protestor was shot dead by police as demonstrators hurled stones at police, set tyres and vehicles on fire and stormed a municipal building.
At least two pro-democracy protesters have been killed during clashes with security forces in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden, medical sources say.
Both men were killed when security forces opened fire on hundreds of pro-democracy protesters in al-Mansura neighborhood on Wednesday. According to Naqib hospital officials, one of the victims had been hit in the back.
Three journalists have also been beaten by the regime’s supporters.
Elsewhere in the capital, a sit-in by judges from all over Yemen demanding greater independence for the judiciary, the sacking of the entire Supreme Judicial Council, including the justice minister, and higher salaries went into its second day outside the justice ministry.
In the capital city, a student-led protest inside the gates of Sana’a University calling for an improved curriculum and the removal of the university dean turned into an anti-government rally when hundreds of other students flocked to the scene.
“The people want to overthrow the regime” and “Oh Ali, son of Saleh, your regime is no good,” the protesters chanted, mirroring a growing sense of frustration that has been swelling in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest state.
A street battle broke out when a handful of armed Saleh supporters, mainly middle-aged men armed with batons, arrived in buses and began chanting Pro-government slogans.
Students hurled rocks over the gates of the university at the Saleh supporters, who retaliated using wooden sticks and jambiyas – traditional Yemeni daggers. Riot police blocked the students from marching out of the campus and fired shots into the air to disperse the protesters. Four students were injured in the clashes.
“The thugs and supporters of the ruling party … want to massacre the students”, the head of the university’s student union,The students are the crusaders and drivers behind the grassroots protests here in Yemen,” said Radwan Masud, a member of the Islamic Islah party and head of the university’s student union. “No-one is paying them to come. They believe in the cause they are fighting for.
In Taiz, thousands of students who have been camped out and occupying the centre of the city since Friday vowed to remain there until Saleh stepped down. The police have arrested more than 100 of the protesters and about 30 have been injured in skirmishes with armed pro-government groups who have periodically set upon them.
Abullah Al-Faqih, professor of political science at Sana’a University, said: “This is what both Saleh’s ruling party and the opposition feared most – loud and violent protests organised by people that have no allegiance to any of the political parties.
“Have no doubt that Saleh is troubled by this. He can’t placate these protests as easily as he could when the JMP [the opposition coaliation] were leading them.”
Eyeing the renewed batch of protests breaking out across the Middle East , Saleh has been inviting sheiks, youth groups, civil society organisations and human rights activists to visit the presidential palace to discuss their grievances with him, according to Saba new agency.
On Monday, Saleh cancelled a planned trip to Washington amid growing calls for his resignation.
Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, announced last week that he would leave power after his term expires in 2013. He also promised not to hand power to his son.
Meanwhile, the impoverished country is embroiled in dual struggles of cementing a cease-fire with a Shia rebellion in the north, and fighting a separatist movement in the south.
On Tuesday, Northern Shia rebel commander Abdulmalik al-Houthi issued a statement, promising to order his armed forces to support the pro-democracy protesters, if “revolution breaks out.”