Saturday, September 17, 2011

Renewed violence in Yemen as more call for Saleh to resign

September 17, 2011

Pro-democracy protesters in Yemen continued to push for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign Saturday, despite overnight violence that left a soldier dead and 11 wounded, dpa reported.

Yemeni government troops opened fire overnight near an anti-government protest camp in the capital Sana'a, injuring 11 protesters, local media reported Saturday.

One of the wounded protesters was in a critical condition, the Mareb Press news website reported.

The state-run Yemeni television said the fighting in the Yemeni capital also left one soldier loyal to Saleh dead.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni opposition said pro-Saleh supporters fired mortar rounds overnight at the home of prominent opposition tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar.

The incidents took place a day after thousands of Yemenis renewed calls for Saleh's resignation.

Saleh is still in Saudi Arabia, where he has been recovering from injuries sustained in a June attack on his presidential compound.

Earlier this week, he authorized one of his aides to hold talks with the opposition in an effort to put an end to the crisis that has gripped the country since late January.

In April, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) proposed a plan designed to end Yemen's crisis, which almost brought the country to the brink of a civil war. Saleh has agreed in the past to the proposal, but has backed out before the deal could be signed.

The Yemeni opposition not only wish to see Saleh resign, but are demanding the departure of his entire political team.

On Friday, a Western diplomat told the German Press Agency dpa that Saleh would not return to the country from Saudi Arabia, where he is staying, and will transfer powers to the vice president within 10 days.

The diplomat, who has close contacts to Saudi officials, added that Saleh would remain in Riyadh, where he is recovering from injuries he sustained in an attack on his palace early June.

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