Police opened fire Friday on anti-government protesters in Yemen, a day after embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh offered sweeping political reform, witnesses said.
Despite Saleh’s promises to protect the demonstrators, security forces used tear gas and live bullets to disperse thousands of people who marched toward Aden’s Khor Maksar neighbourhood to demand democratic change.
At least 14 people were injured, including two who appeared to have been shot with live bullets, hospital staff said.
The demonstrators were carrying banners reading “Ali, tyrant, leave” and “For the sake of our martyrs, leave” as they marched toward Khor Maksar, where foreign consulates are located. Police had cordoned off the area.
In the capital, a massive crowd of mourners attended the funeral of a protester who had been shot on Wednesday when police attacked student demonstrators near Sanaa University.
“The people want to overthrow the president,” people chanted as they poured into a square near the university that has become the epicentre of anti-regime protests raging since late January.
“We call on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to listen to the demands of the protesters in all the provinces,” said Abdul Wahab al-Dulaimi, who led Friday prayers for students who are manning a protest camp at the university.