Yemeni Police Block Protesters, Using Batons

Witnesses report harshest response yet from authorities
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2011 3:44 PM CST
Supporters of the Yemeni government raise posters of their President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Police today took their harshest stance yet against anti-government protesters in Yemen, blocking hundreds of them from marching on the presidential palace today. Police hit protesters with batons and protesters threw rocks, witnesses say. Reuters reports four people were injured. About 1,000 people were at a demonstration in Sanaa, shouting things like “a Yemeni revolution after the Egyptian revolution,” and dozens broke off from the group to march on the palace.

Until now, many of the protests in Yemen have ended peacefully, with police generally staying out of the Sanaa protests even though pro- and anti-government protesters have clashed recently. Meanwhile, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is preparing to meet with the main opposition group in the hopes of averting a revolt like Egypt experienced. Saleh has offered concessions to the protesters, and has pledged to step down—but not until 2013.

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