Hundreds of thousands protest in southwest Yemen, Saleh welcomes Gulf mediation
More than six hundred thousand anti-government protesters took to the streets in Yemen's southern province of Taiz on Wednesday to demand the ouster of embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh, BNO News quoted the Yemen Post as reporting.
Eyewitnesses said that the protesters condemned the use of violence and force against peaceful demonstrators across the country, especially in the province of Taiz, where at least 15 protesters were killed and hundreds injured in the past three days. Protesters accused the governor of Taiz, Hamod Al-Sofi, and the head of security Abdullah Qairan for the massacres.
"The governor and head of security must be held accountable for the crimes they committed and the blood they spilled," said youth activist Bushra Maktari. "Very soon our time will come."
Tens of thousands of women and children also participated in an effort by protesters to convince security forces that they want peaceful change, the Post reported.
According to the state-run news agency, President Saleh welcomed the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) efforts to mediate between representatives from the Yemeni government and the opposition. They plan to hold a meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to find solutions to overcome the country's current crisis.
Meanwhile, six youth protesters were arrested by security forces in Yemen's southern port of Aden as they were preparing to organize a rally.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday called on the Yemeni government to immediately halt the use of force against protesters and condemned the violent suppression of protests in Taiz.
According to the UN, it is estimated that the recent political turmoil in Yemen has led to more than 100 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The OHCHR believes, however, this may be a conservative estimate.