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Anti-government protesters on the streets in Sanaa, Yemen, today. AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

Police raid protest camp in Yemen

Yemeni authorities continue to crackdown on demonstrators and reportedly fired tear gas and live rounds when storming a protest camp today.

POLICE STORMED A PROTEST CAMP in southern Yemen today, firing live rounds and tear gas that wounded at least 13 people as President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s crackdown on dissent grows increasingly deadly.

The raid follows a dramatic escalation in violence yesterday, when security forces in the capital, Sanaa, killed at least 46 people and injured hundreds.

The attack suggests Saleh is fearful that the unprecedented street protests, set off by unrest across the Arab world, could unravel his 32-year grip on power in this volatile, impoverished nation.

The US, which has long relied on Saleh for help fighting terrorism, condemned the violence, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the use of live rounds by the Yemeni forces.

The US provided the Yemeni government with $250m in military aid this year alone to battle one of al-Qaeda’s most active franchises.

The bloodshed, however, failed to dislodge protesters from a large traffic circle they have dubbed “Taghyir Square” — Arabic for “Change.” Hours after Friday’s shooting, thousands demanding Saleh’s ouster stood their ground, many of them hurling stones at security troops and braving live fire and tear gas.

Saleh declared a 30-day nationwide state of emergency that formally gave his security forces a freer hand to confront demonstrators. The declaration bars citizens from carrying and using weapons.

Protesters today said police fired tear gas and live rounds before storming a protest camp in the southern port city of Aden. At least 13 were injured, among them three who suffered bullet wounds.

The attack was followed by clashes after thousands surrounded the al-Mualla police station trying to break in, but police were holding them off, firing in the air.

- AP