2 dead after security forces fire on demonstrators, medics say

At least two people were killed and 40 others injured when Yemeni government security forces opened fire on thousands of anti-government protesters in the country’s capital Tuesday, according to medical officials.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Qubati, a medic at a field hospital in Sanaa, said “security forces were shooting at protesters immediately after the protests started in Sanaa.” Eleven of the injured were in critical condition, he added.

Eyewitnesses in Sanaa said the violence against protesters happened on Qa’a Road, directly behind the Republican Hospital.

The protesters had come together to continue voicing their demand that Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, step down.

Al-Qubati described a horrific scene at his field hospital in Change Square, the epicenter of the anti-government movement.

“The death toll will rise due to the lack of medical equipment we have to help save the injured,” the doctor said. “The government is committing a massacre here against unarmed youth.”

Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but the government has in the past blamed armed gangs for inciting violence and has said security forces are working to stop them.

This latest round of violence comes just one day after Saleh made comments welcoming a United Nations Security Council resolution, which calls on him to implement a Gulf Cooperation Council-backed initiative that would see him transfer power.

According to SABA, Yemen’s official state news agency, Saleh confirmed Monday the readiness of Yemen’s Ruling Party to immediately meet with the country’s opposition in order “to complete the dialogue over the operational mechanism for the (Gulf) initiative as soon as possible and to reach the final signing of the initiative and its immediate implementation, which would lead to early presidential elections on a date agreed upon by all.”

While Saleh has repeatedly promised to sign the GCC-backed deal, he has not done so.

Friday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned the months of violence in Yemen. But the resolution stopped short of explicitly calling for Saleh’s resignation.

The proposed Gulf council-brokered accord, which is backed by the United States and the European Union, would allow Saleh to resign from power in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The Security Council resolution, passed by a 15-0 vote, demands that Yemen allow peaceful demonstrations and end crackdowns on civilians.

(edition.cnn.com / 25.10.2011)

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