Yemen president deploys troops who open fire on students in capital

Thursday, March 10, 2011   E-Mail this story   Free Headline Alerts

CAIRO For the first time since the protest campaign was launched, President Ali Abdullah Saleh has deployed the military in Yemen's capital.

Opposition sources said thousands of troops were sent to Sanaa over the last 48 hours. They said the troops, which included the elite Republican Guard, were deployed around critical facilities, including the Saleh's palace and Sanaa University.

On March 8, the troops opened fire on student demonstrators.

"It's a massacre," opposition spokesman Mohammed Qahtan said.

At least one person was killed and nearly 100 injured in the military fire toward Sanaa University. The sources said the military and police, many of them trained by the United States, were also using live fire against protesters in other areas of Yemen.

"It is a crime by security troops against students engaged in a peaceful sit-in," Qahtan said.

The sources said military deployment appeared to mark the final tool by Saleh in his attempt to quell the protest movement. Hundreds of thousands of people have been gathering throughout Yemen to demand the immediate resignation of Saleh, in power since 1978.

The protest movement was reported to have intimidated schools in attempts to recruit students to join the demonstrations. In Aden, protest organizers raided schools and threatened that they would be torched unless teachers and students left their classrooms and joined the anti-regime campaign.

"Reportedly, children and teachers were threatened and told if they would not leave the schools and join the protest, they [the schools] would be burnt down," the United Nations Children's Fund said. "Gun shots were heard in the area."

The opposition has asserted that the Saleh regime has lost control over much of Yemen. The sources said anti-government rallies were also organized in Dhamar, a tribal area long regarded as loyal to the president.

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