Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yemen imposes tight security cordon around capital amid escalating protests

by Mohamed al-Azaki, Wang Qiuyun
SANAA, March 14 - The Yemeni government on Monday imposed a tight security cordon around the capital in a bid to prevent more tribesmen from joining protesters' camping outside Sana'a University, a senior official of the Interior Ministry said.
Hundreds of anti-government tribesmen from Hamdan tribe, some 15km northwest of the capital Sana'a, have joined the crowds for a week after one of their kinsmen died of a gunshot wound he sustained during clashes with the police.
Chieftain of northern largest powerful tribe Bakil, Sheikh Ameen al-Okaimi, joined along with tens of his tribesmen in Sana'a' s sit-in on Monday, a member of the sit-in's media committee, Walid al-Ammari told Xinhua.
He said other 20 tribesmen arrived Monday from the northern province of Al-Jouf and joined the rally. The number of demonstrators has reached some 150,000 in the "changing square" outside the campus of Sana'a University this evening.
Hundreds of thousands tribal protesters in Amran province, some 60 km north of the capital, vowed to join Sana'a 's protest demonstration, according to al-Ammari. There was no immediate government comment.
Armored military vehicles along with dozens of army troops were seen Monday at the entrances of Sanaa's sit-in, where big billboards hung at the entrances by protesters reading "Welcome to the Liberation Land."
Inspired by Tunisian and Egyptian protests, anti-government protests rattled Yemen since mid February, which recently turned to violence and confrontation with the police, leaving scores of people died and many others injured.
A security officer and two policemen were shot dead on Monday during clashes with tribal protesters in Al-Jouf. The protesters also set on fire the building of the headquarters and two police cars, according to the official Saba news agency.
In northeast province of Marib, tribal demonstrators stormed on Monday the government compound and stabbed Marib governor Naji al- Zaidi, injuring three of his bodyguards, a local security official told Xinhua.
Sana'a government blamed the attacks of Al-Jouf and Marib on the opposition coalition, according to Saba.
Another two protesters were wounded by gunshots and tear gas in clashes with riot police on Monday in southern port city of Aden, according to a local councilman.
Thousands of protests were reportedly continued their anti- Saleh sit-ins on Monday in provinces of Amran, Al-Hodayda, Dhamar, Al-Bayda, Ibb, Taiz, Lahj, Shabwa and Hadramout.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh pledged earlier neither to seek another term nor to pass power to his son, promising to prepare transferring power to the parliament by the end of this year and calling on the opposition to resume dialogue.
The board of opposition coalition, also known as the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs), sent a statement to the European Union on Monday, affirming that the time of conciliation talks with President Saleh has gone and the decision is now up to the Yemeni people, a close aide to the JMPs' board told Xinhua on anonymity.
Source: (Xinhua)

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