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Government officials reportedly fired at demonstrators
Government forces opened fire on demonstrators in Sanaa, Yemen on Sunday, killing at least 24 protesters who were asking for president Ali Abdullah Saleh to stoop down. Many more have been injured, reports Al Jazeera English.
Youth protestors in Yemen have been voicing their discontent with the regime since February, taking to streets, inspired by the fall of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
Saleh has increasingly lost support from military, tribal and political allies, but has refused to step down from power. He has backed out from an internationally agree upon power transfer three times. The transfer would prevent him or any of his family from having to go through the prosecution that Mubarak has faced. The initiative has been approved by the 6 member Gulf Cooperation Council.
Saleh, who has been in Saudi Arabia recovering from an attack on his compound, had said that he would not be returning to Yemen, and that he would sign the power transfer peacefully.
According to witnesses, government forces attacked the protestors with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. Some protests responded with rocks and Molotov cocktails, reports the Miami Herald.
According to Mohammad al Qadhi, a Yemeni journalist, government snipers shot at protestors from rooftops. Tom Finn, a freelance journalist in Yemen said that he witnessed 16 bodies piled up in a mosque. Most were shot in the head, reports Al Jazeera English.
For many Yemenis, Saleh and his allies are to blame for the attacks.
According to the Miami Herald:
"In my 30-year career, I have never seen anything like this," said Dr. Tariq Nooman, a surgeon providing treatment at the field hospital. "But we cannot lay blame solely on the regime - as Saleh sits in a palace in Riyadh, the Saudis are literally allowing him to slaughter the Yemeni people."