Yemen Protesters Seize Military Base

But 50 killed in protests elsewhere
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2011 7:39 PM CDT
Thousands of Yemenis rally in the city of Ibb, 190 kms southwest of Sanaa, on September 19, 2011 against the deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in the capital Sanaa.   (Getty Images/AFP)
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(Newser) – Thousands of protesters and some military defectors stormed a small Republican Guard base today in Yemen, seizing it without firing a shot, witnesses tell the AP. Some carried sticks and rocks, and others used sandbags to form barriers in case soldiers inside the base fired. Instead the soldiers fled, leaving their guns behind. “It was unbelievable,” one protester said. “We acted like it was us who had the weapons, not the soldiers.”

But elsewhere violence was rampant, particularly in Sanaa. Government troops fired on unarmed protesters for the second day in a row, wounding hundreds and bringing the two-day death toll to at least 50—including an infant girl and a 14-year-old boy. The Republican Guard also clashed with the 1st Armored Division, an elite outfit that helped protesters capture the base. Protesters think the victory could be a turning point. “The regime will finally crumble,” one said. “Our will is more effective than weapons.”

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