In bid to revive protests, Yemenis rush to martyrdom

September 21, 2011 07:18


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SANAA - As trucks screech past carrying bloody bodies and gunfire erupts up ahead, cheerful revolutionary songs blare out of loudspeakers -- and throngs of Yemeni protesters start marching toward to an unknown fate.

"Goodbye friends, I'm headed for martyrdom," shouts one man as he slips into a crowd holding up peace signs and shouting, "God is great! Freedom!"

In the capital Sanaa's "Change Square", where thousands have camped out in ramshackle tents to demand an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule, protesters are determined to rebuild momentum lost after eight months of demonstrations. Many say they are ready to die for it.

Scores of protesters have already died in three days of gunfire, sniper attacks and mortar fire. The latest violence started on Sunday as police tried to stop the protesters' advance. It soon deteriorated into fierce clashes between pro-opposition forces and loyalist troops that now divide this battle-scarred city between them.

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