Mar 18 2011
Foreign Secretary William Hague today condemned the violent suppression of protests in Yemen, which left at least 31 demonstrators dead and hundreds injured.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh declared a nationwide state of emergency after snipers fired on a crowd of thousands of anti-government protesters in the Arab state's capital, Sana'a.
The bloodshed was the most brutal incident in a month-long uprising calling for the end to Saleh's rule. Mr Hague said it would be "completely unacceptable" if it emerged that the Yemeni authorities were to blame.
In a statement released by the Foreign Office in London, Mr Hague said: "I utterly condemn the violence we have seen today in Yemen, and call on those responsible immediately to cease this brutal reaction to protests.
"The government of Yemen must uphold their responsibility to protect protesters, as President Saleh has committed, and to bring to justice those behind today's terrible events.
"It would be completely unacceptable if it emerges that this violence or those responsible are sponsored or supported in any way by the Yemeni authorities."
Mr Hague added: "Violence only undermines the opportunities for dialogue between the parties in Yemen.
"The government of Yemen, the political opposition and the protesters must urgently embark on a process that builds trust and addresses the legitimate demands of the people.
"The declaration of a state of emergency does not absolve the government of Yemen from its obligations to uphold the rule of law and their international human rights commitments.
"All parties in Yemen must exercise the utmost restraint and take all steps necessary to defuse this situation. Those in authority have a responsibility to ensure that the casualties of today's events have access to medical care and support."
Source: Birmingham Mail