Security Breaks Up Southern Yemen Protest, Kill 2

By Salon Staff

Published January 13, 2012 1:54PM (EST)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Two Yemeni protesters were killed and over a dozen people injured Friday, a medic and a witness said, when security forces fired bullets and tear gas at marchers in the southern city of Aden.

The protesters were demanding that the country's outgoing president be out on trial.

The witness said some armed men in the demonstration returned fire. A security official said three troops were injured, including an officer. The medic and security official spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. The witness feared retribution.

Protesters held rallies in cities across Yemen Friday calling for regime change and rejecting a recent law granting President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his government officials immunity from prosecution for all crimes committed during his 33-year rule.

Security across Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, has collapsed during the 11-month uprising, and Yemen's active al-Qaida branch has seized territory in the country's south.

Inspired by the uprisings across the Arab world, Yemenis have been taking to the streets in huge numbers, calling for Saleh's ouster. Security forces have often responded with deadly force, killing more than 200 demonstrators, spurring calls that Saleh be put on trial for allegedly ordering the killings, as well as for alleged corruption.

In November, Saleh signed a U.S.-backed deal brokered by Yemen's powerful Persian Gulf neighbors to transfer power to his vice president in exchange for immunity. Protesters say the deal doesn't address their demands for wider political reform in the country.

Human rights groups object to the immunity law, saying it stands in the way of justice for a corrupt regime with a long history of rights violations.

Salon Staff

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