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Middle East
Protesters shot dead in southern Yemen
At least 16 anti-government protesters killed as troops - some stationed on rooftops - open fire on crowd.
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2011 19:22
Yemeni demonstrators in the town of Taiz have continued their protest against the government [AFP]

Yemeni security forces have shot dead at least 16 anti-government demonstrators and wounded 30 in the city of Taiz, south of the capital Sanaa, medics said.

The violence began when thousands of protesters marched through Taiz toward Freedom Square, where demonstrators have been camped out.

As the march passed the governor's headquarters, troops stationed there blocked the procession, and clashes broke out, with some protesters throwing stones, witnesses said.

Troops on nearby rooftops opened fire with live ammunition on the crowd and the marchers then turned to besiege the governor's headquarters, said Bushra al-Maqtara, an opposition activist in Taiz, and other witnesses.

Fast-moving events

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Sanaa said "events are moving fast around the country".

"We're hearing from the doctors in a makeshift hospital that's actually a mosque in Taiz ... that they're running out of vital supplies and that they're in need of equipment in trying to deal with what's going on," said our reporter, who is not being named for security reasons.

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Our correspondent added that protesters planned on meeting in three different locations, with one of them being near the presidential palace though it is feared that gathering there could escalate the violence between anti-government protesters and security forces.

The bloodshed in Taiz has further stoked the more than month-old uprising against Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year-rule.

The opposition has been holding continual protest camps in main squares of cities around the country, and on Monday new demonstrations in solidarity with the Taiz protesters erupted in several places including the cities of Mukalla in the east, and Hudaida, on Yemen's western Red Sea coast.

In Hudaida, protesters tried to march on a presidential palace in the city but were blocked by security forces, who opened fire with tear gas and live ammunition, said activist Abdel-Hafiz al-Abbasi.

Our correspondent said at least 400 people have been wounded and many are in critical condition.

Security forces including the Republican Guard, for the first time, have fired on protesters as well as snipers positioned around Protest Square.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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