Yemen President Orders Forces to Protect Protesters

After two were killed in Sanaa clashes on Tuesday
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2011 8:50 AM CST
Anti-government protestors chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
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(Newser) – Thousands gathered in a Sanaa square in Yemen yesterday, just one day after supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, wielding clubs, tried to force them out. Amnesty International says two were killed in the Sanaa clashes late Tuesday, the capital’s first fatalities since protests began. Saleh said last night that he ordered his security services to intervene and to protect protesters, the AP reports. Prior to his announcement, security forces in Aden had used tear gas to disperse protesters.

“The heavy-handed tactics which we have seen the security forces using with lethal effect against protesters in the south of Yemen are increasingly being employed elsewhere," says an Amnesty International director, warning that more deaths could be seen. Saleh, whom protesters want to see step down, says in a statement that his government “will continue to protect the rights of its citizens to assemble peacefully and their right to freedom of expression.” Since protests began, 13 demonstrators have been killed in the country and nine legislators have resigned from Saleh’s ruling Congress Party.

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