Yemen riot police shoot dead anti-gov't protester

5 others injured as protests carry on into 10th day; thousands stream back into Bahrain capital's main square as tanks withdraw.

yemen protests 311 (photo credit: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
yemen protests 311
(photo credit: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Yemeni riot police in the capital shot dead an anti-government protester and injured five others on Saturday when they opened fire on thousands marching in the 10th day of unrest rocking the country. The country's leader blamed the unrest on "a foreign plot."
Protesters seeking to oust longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh began marching from the University of Sanaa to the Ministry of Justice, chanting: "The people want the fall of the regime."
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They were met by police and government supporters with clubs and knives who engaged in a stone-throwing battle with the protesters. At one point, police fired in the air to disperse the march.
A medical official said one man was shot in the neck and killed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The capital became quiet during an afternoon period when Yemenis traditional chew a popular stimulant leaf, known as qat.
It was the 10th straight day of protests in Yemen inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, which have killed seven people across the country. Demonstrators want the immediate ouster of Saleh, who has ruled for 32 years.
In a meeting with civic leaders, Saleh said Yemenis have the right to express themselves peacefully and that the perpetrators of the unrest were trying to seize power by fomenting instability.
"The homeland is facing a foreign plot that threatens its future," Saleh said, without elaborating. He has tried to blunt discontent by promising not to seek re-election when his term ends in 2013.
Thousands stream back into Bahrain capital main square
Thousands of singing and dancing protesters streamed back into Manama's central Pearl Square on Saturday after Bahrain's leaders withdrew tanks and riot police following a bloody crackdown by security forces in the tiny monarchy.
The royal family, which was quick to use force earlier this week against demonstrators in the landmark square that has been the heart of the anti-government demonstrations, appeared to back away from further confrontation following international pressure from the West.
The demonstrators had sought to emulate successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt in attempting to bring political change to Bahrain, home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet — the centerpiece of Washington's efforts to confront Iranian military influence in the region.
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, appealed for calm and political dialogue in a brief address on state TV.
A leader of Al Wefaq, the Shiite opposition group, said the crown prince "did the right thing" by withdrawing security forces from the streets and letting people return to Pearl Square.