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Security forces fire on protesters in Yemen

By Mohammed Jamjoom and Hakim Almasmari, CNN
October 15, 2011 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Tribal fighters and security forces fought
  • It's a "sad day for the revolution," medic says
  • Witnesses say at least 10 people were shot dead in streets
  • Protesters are calling for the president to step down

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Yemeni security forces unleashed a deadly assault on anti-government protesters in the nation's capital on Saturday and deadly fighting raged between government forces and tribal fighters, witnesses said.

At least 10 people were killed and 38 others were wounded, said Mohammed Al-Qubati, who was at the scene of the protests in Sanaa's Change Square. He said forces opened fire to disperse demonstrators who planned to march to the city center from the square.

"This is a sad day for the revolution," said Molhim Saeed, another medic in Change Square. "The oppressive regime is killing innocent blood. The marches were peaceful and the youth were unarmed. They refused to even fight back when they were being shot at."

There was no immediate comment from the government. Demonstrators have taken to the streets regularly to call for an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Activist Amal Basha said her son and other activists came under attack by snipers trying to disperse the throngs.

"This killing has to stop. They are marching to express their needs, their dreams," she said

Salman al-Nusairi, another activist, described security forces on rooftops shooting at protesters.

"They shot continuously hoping to kill as many people as possible," he said.

Last week, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Sanaa, marching, chanting and calling for the United Nations to come out with a firm resolution in support for change in the country.

For its part, the government says it is trying to come up with a solution to end the political stalemate.

"The ruling party is serious on finding a solution to the political crisis from its roots to ensure they don't erupt in the future," said Tareq Shami, spokesman for the ruling party, the General People's Congress, last week.

Ali Jaradi, editor-in-chief of Ahale newspaper, said opposition parties and youth movements will continue to push for more international pressure on Saleh to step down from power.

"Mubarak and Ben Ali left rule after less than three weeks of peaceful protests, while Saleh has not understood the message after nine months of peaceful protests," he said, referring to the deposed leaders of Libya and Tunisia.

In a separate development, eyewitnesses and residents report heavy clashes in Sanaa districts between Yemeni security forces and fighters from the Hashid tribe, led by Sadiq Al-Ahmar.

Abdulqawi Al-Qaisi, a spokesman for the Al-Ahmar family, said six people were killed when government forces attacked attacked homes of Al-Ahmar tribesmen.

Al-Ahmar called on Saleh to step down after the shooting of dozens of protesters in March.

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