SANAA - Yemeni security forces shot and killed at least two people from a restive Shi'ite group and wounded 30 others on Sunday when they opened fire on demonstrators protesting against a security branch accused of abuses, the group said.
In a separate incident, a local official said a US drone had killed three suspected al-Qaida members.
The Yemeni government is struggling with an Islamist insurgency linked to al- Qaida; with a separatist movement in the south; and with Shi'ite Houthis demanding more say in the future of Yemen, a US-allied state adjoining top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.
Abdel Karim al-Khaywani, a local Houthi leader, said members of his group had demonstrated outside Yemen's external security service in Sanaa demanding that it be disbanded because of its involvement in suppressing political activists under ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
"Police used live ammunition and at least 14 were wounded," Khaywani told Reuters. He later said the number of wounded had risen to 30 and that two people had died in hospital. He accused police of arresting some of the wounded before they could be treated.
But a local security source said police had only fired at civilians who had fired on them first, and that a number of suspects had been detained. The source said the wounded were being treated at a local hospital.
The Houthi group, which draws its name from the tribe of its founder and leader, fought the government off and on for control of parts of northern Yemen from 2004 until a truce was reached in 2010.