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Middle East
Yemen protests claim lives
Saleh supporter killed in Hadramaut, while anti-government protester shot in police raid succumbs to wounds.
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2011 14:33 GMT

Two protesters have died in Yemen as demonstrations calling for Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, to step down continue across the country.

A supporter of the president was killed during clashes with anti-government protesters in the southern province of Hadramaut on Wednesday, a security official told the AFP news agency.

He said that another person was also injured in that clash.

Meanwhile, an anti-government protester who was shot when the army raided a university campus in the capital, Sanaa, has succumbed to his wounds, doctors said.

Mohammed al-Abahi, one of the doctors volunteering at the campus, said Mohammed Ali, 24, died early on Wednesday morning.

He said that six other protesters also sustained bullet wounds in the raid by police on the anti-government demonstration and are in serious condition.

Army troops stormed the campus late on Tuesday, shooting live ammunition, rubber bullets and firing tear gas. About 90 protesters sustained gas inhalation and minor injuries in the raid.

A security official said that 12 policemen were injured by rocks hurled by demonstrators.

Police had initially intervended to prevent protesters from erecting tents in a street close to the university's main square, where anti-government protesters have been camping since February 21.

"Some protesters opened fire on the police causing security forces to respond similarly," one of the wounded policemen told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"When the protesters heard the shooting, around 1,000 of them gathered to attack security forces, but the police had to use tear gas to disperse them," he said.

'Personally accountable'

An alliance of parliamentary opposition groups condemned on Wednesday the police action.

"Even the medical teams coming to rescue the wounded were not spared the attacks," Mohammed Qahtan, a spokesman for the bloc, said in a statement.

The alliance said that it held Saleh "personally accountable for the crime committed by the central security and the republican guard against the students".

Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Sanaa, said the situation there was "delicate ... but the mood is extremely defiant on the university square, where thousands gathered today saying that despite the bloody assault by security forces yesterday, they are determined to continue their fight to topple [the president]".

"It is definitely heaidng towards a political crisis. The clerics of Yemen have just issued a statement saying that Ali Abdullah Salah still clings to power - he has rejected one of the proposals by the opposition for him to step aside by the end of this year to allow for the constitution of a new interim government," he reported.

"The clerics have warned the government, the president and the opposition that unless an immediate dialogue starts now, it might just be too late for Yemen to wrap up the differences that are likely to drag the nation into one of the worst episodes of unrest it has seen in modern times."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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