At least six Yemenis were killed in the capital on Tuesday in an intensifying crackdown by security forces on protesters demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.
At least 34 people have been killed in the last four days and well over 100 have been injured. The UN Security Council is expected to make a decision this week on a resolution to “strongly condemn” the government’s human rights violations. The resolution also urges Saleh to “immediately sign and implement” a peace plan brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which requires him to cede power.
Sanaa residents said protesters had been approaching government buildings when they were attacked by security forces. “The number of dead is now six,” said Tariq Nouman, a doctor at the field hospital set up by protesters in Change Square. “Until now, we have 50 injured, most of whom are in critical condition, by live bullets and 80 to 90 choking injuries from the tear gas,” said Jamila Yaqoub, another doctor.
Amnesty International said Saleh, who has ruled Yemen with an iron fist for three decades, should not be immune from prosecution for rights violations. “The international community must send a clear message that those responsible for extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances in Yemen will be brought to justice as part of any transition agreement,” Amnesty International said.
Citizens, inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, have been camped out in the streets since January demanding that Saleh step down.
Saleh survived a June assassination attempt and returned to Yemen, strategically located at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, last month after treatment in Saudi Arabia.
18 October 2011, Tuesday / REUTERS/AP, SANAA