Death toll rises as brutal crackdown on protestors continues in Yemen

Arab World Materials 21 September 2011 10:19
Death toll rises as brutal crackdown on protestors continues in Yemen
Death toll rises as brutal crackdown on protestors continues in Yemen

Azerbaijan , Baku, Sept. 21 / Trend A. Isgandarov /

As trucks screech past carrying bloody bodies and gunfire erupts up ahead, cheerful revolutionary songs blare out of loudspeakers -- and throngs of Yemeni protesters start marching toward to an unknown fate, Reuters reported.

"Goodbye friends, I'm headed for martyrdom," shouts one man as he slips into a crowd holding up peace signs and shouting, "God is great! Freedom!"

In the capital Sanaa's "Change Square," where thousands have camped out in ramshackle tents to demand an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule, protesters are determined to rebuild momentum lost after eight months of demonstrations. Many say they are ready to die for it.

Scores of protesters have already died in three days of gunfire, sniper attacks and mortar fire.

The latest violence started on Sunday as police tried to stop the protesters' advance. It soon deteriorated into fierce clashes between pro-opposition forces and loyalist troops that now divide this battle-scarred city between them.

Any further escalation in the protests in the days ahead could throw a wrench into plans for a power transfer deal between opposition groups and the ruling party. . "We aren't afraid. Death is better than a humiliating life," shouts Abdelrahman Mawthaf, a lawyer, eliciting cheers from the protesters around him.

Since February, millions of Yemenis have been demanding the ouster of Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years. Yemeni security forces use their weapons to disperse the anti-government actions. According to Western media, for two months the popular unrests in the country killed several hundreds people.

Despite months of protests, Saleh, who has been receiving treatment in neighbouring Saudi Arabia for the past three months for blast wounds he sustained in a bombing at the presidential palace, has so far refused to hand power to his deputy.

The UN plans also calls for the immediate launch of negotiations on the formation of a government of national reconciliation, which would rule the country for an interim period of three or six months during which preparations would be made for a presidential election