SANAA (AFP) – Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters armed with daggers and batons clashed heavily with students in the capital Sanaa Tuesday, wounding five before police intervened, an AFP reporter said.
About 1,000 students had spent a second night camped at a square, which they have dubbed Al-Huriya (Liberty) Square, near Sanaa university demanding Saleh’s ouster.
The crowd swelled to about 4,000 and as the protesters moved from the square close to where Saleh’s loyalists are bunkered down, the group attacked them with daggers and batons.
Five students were wounded before police dispersed the crowd, the reporter said.
Thousands of protesters also took to the streets in several neighbourhoods of the southern city of Aden, calling on Saleh to step down.
Security forces fired warning shots to disperse protesters in Sheikh Osman, Al-Tawahi and Mualla, but no casualties were reported, witnesses said.
According to an AFP tally based on reports by medics, 12 people have been killed and dozens more in Aden wounded since February 16.
The interior ministry on Monday put the death toll at four, according to the official Saba news agency.
Saleh, in power for 32 years, has vowed on Monday not to quit under popular pressure and accused his opponents of fuelling the demonstrations.