Yemen forces open fire at protest, three dead

Over 50 injured during renewed clashes which break during Friday prayers; forces try to prevent protesters from marching to main square.

March 18, 2011 13:39
1 minute read.
Protests in Yemen

Yemen Protests 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

Yemeni forces opened fire at an anti-government protest in Sanaa after Muslim prayers on Friday, killing three people and wounding around 50 others, medical sources and witnesses told Reuters.

The firing broke out after Friday prayers when security forces were trying to prevent protesters from marching out of the square where they had gathered.

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3 soldiers killed in Yemen anti-gov't protests.

Yemeni security forces opened live fire and used tear gas on Thursday on protesters demanding an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, wounding at least 84, activists said.

Protesters in the southern city of Taiz said 80 people were hit while four were reported wounded in the capital Sanaa when police opened live fire and let off tear gas. Some 150 people were wounded on Wednesday when security forces tried to break up a rally in the Red Sea city of Hudaida.

The Arabian Peninsula state, neighbour to oil giant Saudi Arabia, has been hit by weeks of protests trying to shake loose Saleh's 32-year grip on power.

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Both pro- and anti-government factions appear to have increasingly resorted to violence.

Yemen's rial has fallen up to almost 8 percent against the dollar in the past week as unrest takes a toll on the poor Arab country's economy, traders said late on Wednesday.

The central bank has slapped unspecified penalties on 10 currency exchanges and other firms for dealing in dollars above the official set rate of about 214 rials.

The United States, which has long seen Saleh as a bulwark against an active al Qaeda wing based in Yemen, has condemned the bloodshed and backed the right to peaceful protest. But it has also insisted only dialogue can end the political crisis.

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