Sunday, April 3, 2011

Security forces injure hundreds trying to disperse Yemeni protesters

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- One person died and at least 830 people were injured Sunday when Yemeni security forces attacked protesters at a square in Taiz, according to information from a field hospital. A local governor denied that there were any deaths.
Protesters shout anti-government slogans in Sanaa, Yemen, on Sunday.
Protesters shout anti-government slogans in Sanaa, Yemen, on Sunday
Nine people suffered gunshot wounds, including the person who died, the field hospital information said. More than 60 were injured in the beatings, and the rest were injured from tear gas inhalation, the hospital said.

But Taiz Gov. Hamoud al-Soufi denied reports of the killing and said that the clashes did not occur in the square, but on the main street, the state-tun Saba news agency reported. Their being in the street forced riot police to intervene to clear the road, but "infiltrators and some young hotheads" threw stones at soldiers, wounding eight, one seriously, the governor said.

Meanwhile, Yemen's parliament speaker rejected a transition plan by the country's largest opposition bloc, indicating continued stalemate over how President Ali Abdullah Saleh should hand over power.

Saleh has offered to step down by the end of the year, after constitutional reforms and new elections. The Joint Meeting Parties bloc demands Saleh's immediate ouster, and the plan unveiled Saturday called for Saleh to hand over all authority to Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, a spokesman for the bloc told reporters.

Once power is handed to Hadi, he should change the structure of the security forces -- including the Republican Guard -- in a way that is "fair" and in accordance with Yemen's constitution, the spokesman said.