Yemen Violence Rises After President's Surprise Return

Troops kill protesters in Change Square

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 24, 2011 7:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – The surprise return of President Ali Abdullah Saleh seems only to have tipped the nation further into violent chaos. In the capital city of Sanaa, Yemeni troops attacked unarmed anti-Saleh protesters in Change Square, killing at least 16, reports al-Jazeera. Troops also attacked the headquarters of soldiers who sided with the opposition under the leadership of a general who split with Saleh. At least 11 opposition soldiers were killed in today's assault, reports AP.

Saleh, who returned from Saudi Arabia after recuperating from an assassination attempt, is expected to address the nation tomorrow. His reappearance after many thought he was gone for good raises "big questions over the future of the fractious Arabian Peninsula state," notes al-Jazeera. And the escalating violence was "a worrying indication that conflict between the two sides is far from solved," adds the New York Times.

A protester shows her painted hand during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen. The message reads, Our blood is fuel for our revolution.
A protester shows her painted hand during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen. The message reads, "Our blood is fuel for our revolution."   (AP Photo/Mohammed al-Sayaghi)
Thousands of Yemenis rally in the city of Ibb Friday.
Thousands of Yemenis rally in the city of Ibb Friday.   (Getty Images)
A defected soldier stands guard while protesters attend a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday.
A defected soldier stands guard while protesters attend a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday.   (AP Photo/Mohammed al-Sayaghi)
A supporter of Yemen's President Ali Abduallah Saleh wears portraits of the leader during a rally celebrating his return to Sanaa, Yemen, Friday.
A supporter of Yemen's President Ali Abduallah Saleh wears portraits of the leader during a rally celebrating his return to Sanaa, Yemen, Friday.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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