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Protesters storm government offices to mount pressure on Saleh

Source : Saeed Al-Batati | Arab News
SANAA | 11 May 2011

Pro-democracy protesters in Yemen have decided to escalate pressure on President Abdullah Ali Saleh by storming government headquarters ahead of a mass march to the presidential palace on Friday.

In Sanaa, a protester was killed and dozens of others were injured Wednesday when police intercepted thousands of protesters who were proceeding to the headquarters of the prime minister.

Ahmed Abu Najji, a protest leader, told Arab News that two leading activists decided Wednesday to lead a rally of thousands of protesters.

Ahmed said the protesters were split over the procedure of marching to the government office in the capital and many protesters remained in Change Square.

“When they arrived the Ministry of Agriculture, en route to the PM’s office, police fired bullets in the air to head them off,” he said. “But they refused to stop and police aimed their weapons at them.”

Dozens of the blood-stained young protesters were taken to the local makeshift clinic in the capital. Most of them suffered from gunshot wounds. Similar escalation-oriented actions were taken in other cities across the country.

In the city of Ibb, a rally of thousands of the protesters besieged the government complex, sealing it off. Some protesters wrote on the door: “Closed by the Youth of the Revolution until further notes.”

In the city of Taiz where many deadly clashes have recently taken place, an eyewitness told Arab News that throngs of protesters blockaded the city’s Jamal Street, the city’s nerve center, bringing the traffic to a halt.

A protest leader in the city said security forces in the city killed a protester and injured 28, including two who were in critical condition. he police fired live ammunition to disperse a growing gathering of teachers, students and anti-government protesters who have been barricading in front of the office of the Ministry of Education since Sunday.

The workers of the ministries of Oil, Social Labor and Education were asked to leave their office and join the demonstrations. They evacuated their office voluntarily.

At the same time, local shops, government offices and private sector businesses were closed in response to the protesters’ call for civil disobedience to put pressure on the president. Following the clashes in the city, the anti-Saleh protesters organized a huge rally to denounce the military crackdown and demand Saleh to leave office.

In turn, the Ministry of Defense said that nine soldiers were injured when opposition elements attacked the police station in the city.

Also two people were injured when security forces in the city of Aden used force to open a closed road. The government says that the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen have given its followers instructions on how to kill security personnel and storm government offices. The ruling party website claimed the Islamists had also taught their supporters how to make bombs and destroy military vehicles.


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