SANAA (AFP) – Yemeni security forces wounded dozens of people as they fired bullets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of thousands of protesters in the flashpoint city of Taez on Monday, witnesses said.
Large crowds gathered in Taez, south of Sanaa, to pressure President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down immediately despite a US-backed Gulf plan for a transition, they said.
The protesters, who have been demonstrating across Yemen since late January, rallied against a Gulf Cooperation Council plan under which Saleh would quit in 30 days with immunity from prosecution.
“No rest, no respite for the executioner,” protestors shouted as tension gripped the the area.
The witnesses said security forces erected concrete barriers to block access roads leading to the Taiz governor’s office and deployed armoured vehicles on the streets.
The latest flare-up came after the United States urged a peaceful transition after Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress said on Saturday it accepted the transition plan drawn up by Yemen’s oil-rich Gulf neighbours.
“No negotiations, no dialogue,” read banners carried by the demonstrators on Monday.
Bahraini flags were also spotted in a show of solidarity with pro-democracy demonstrations in the kingdom, where street protests were crushed in mid-March after a deployment of a joint Gulf force.