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At least 23 killed in Yemen protests

A child was among the people killed as the latest spurt of violence in the country’s capital, Sanaa, entered its second day.

Image: AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

VIOLENT CLASHES HAVE led to the deaths of at least 23 people in Yemen’s capital Sanaa today,  medical and security officials have said.

This is the second day of clashes shaking the city, in which 50 people have died during what is the most serious outbreak of violence in months.

The dead include a child and at least three soldiers who had defected to join the protestors.

The violence comes as frustration in the streets again builds over the president’s refusal to step down after 33 years in power.

Officials said thousands of protesters armed with sticks overran a camp belonging to Presidential guards in Sanaa and that others were headed toward the headquarters of the elite force led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son Ahmed in the south of the city.

On Sunday, pro-regime snipers killed at least 26 of the tens of thousands of protesters demonstrating in Sanaa calling for Saleh to step down.

In the southern city of Taiz, at least one protester was killed and 15 others were wounded today in clashes between anti-regime demonstrators and security forces, according to witnesses.

In the southern port city of Aden, three protesters were wounded in clashes with government forces, witnesses there said.

Yemen’s protest movement has stepped up in the past week after being angered by Saleh, who deputised Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi recently to negotiate further on a Gulf-mediated, US-backed deal under which he would step down in return for immunity from prosecution.

Saleh has already backed away three times from signing the deal and has been resisting calls for him to resign.

The United States once saw Saleh as a key ally in the battle against the dangerous Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, but the US withdrew its support of Saleh as protests against him gained strength.

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