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(wsws.org) The Obama administration has seized upon the popular upheavals in Yemen to step up bombings and missile attacks against alleged Al Qaeda militants, effectively opening up yet another war in the region.

Citing unnamed government sources, the New York Times reported Thursday that Washington is “exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets.”

Testifying at a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, CIA Director Leon Panetta, tapped by Obama to take over the Pentagon as defense secretary, acknowledged that the US military has opened up a fourth theater of war with its attacks on Yemen. He said that Washington was working “with elements there to try to develop counterterrorism.” Read More

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(janenovak.wordpress.com) Over 250 at least were killed in Taiz, Yemen over the past four days. On May 29th, at 3 am, forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh attacked Freedom Square in Taiz.

Water cannons filled with gasoline sprayed tents where protesters were sleeping. Thousands of protesters were camping in the Square since February demanding Saleh’s immediate resignation. The tents were set ablaze and fleeing citizens shot by roof top snipers as they ran. Many were unable to escape the fires including the disabled and children as indicated by the photos below. The massive protest site was cleared after hours of carnage, with bulldozers scraping up the remains of tents and persons by the morning.

The protesters attempted to retake the square over the next days only to be shot point blank causing over hundred additional fatalities.

MASS GRAVES

Reports are emerging that Saleh’s forces again kidnapped severely wounded protesters and took corpses. The practice of body snatching was first reported in Aden February 25th.

Protesters killed by security forces were buried in a mass grave in Aden on February 27 a ranking Yemeni official confirmed today.

The grave site is on the eastern edge of the Salahu Deen military camp, near little Aden, and was first reported last week.

The official said 15 protesters were buried together in an unmarked single grave about eight meters long, speaking anonymously due to the high risk of government reprisal.

In May, Saleh’s henchmen again captured critically wounded and the dead bodies dumping them ina mass grave chopped up in garbage bags:

Sahwa Net, Sana’a- Medical sources at the Military Hospital in Sana’a have revealed that dozens of corpses of protesters who were killed by security forces were hidden by the Yemeni authorities in unknown places in an attempt to conceal evidence of crimes committed against peaceful demonstrators.

The sources affirmed that the Central Security and the Republican Guard kidnapped dozens of the killed and wounded persons and escaped them.

Security sources affirmed that the corpses of protesters were transferred from the Military Hospital’s mortuary in framework of a security campaign to conceal evidence of murder crimes committed by security forces against peaceful protests…

A Yemeni human rights organization, Hood, revealed that dozens of protesters’ bodies were taken into a cemetery at Artel area of the capital, Sana’a.

Hood further said that it received statements from medical sources saying that dozens of protesters corpses were taken to graves after the mid night on a Hilux, affirming that some residents of Artel area informed it, just after 12 hours of receiving those statements, that they found out a mass grave in which 15 bodies were buried.

HOOD, a leading and well respected human rights organization reported that body parts were found in trash barrels in May likely of protesters disappeared in April:

Hood confirmed that it received information and testimonies written and documented about the central security forces and gunmen in civilian clothes attacking the demonstrators with live bullets, sharp weapons and poison gas on Saturday night 04/09/2011 in Zubairy Street and Ring Road, which led to the downfall of a number of dead and wounded.

Hood quoted witnesses saying that “Nearly 20 people were pulled to some personnel carriers and government vehicles transferred to an unknown destination and their injuries were at the head, neck, chest, abdomen and some of them had died.” Also, confirmed that it had received “certificates for a mass graves in the area of “ Bait Boss”, body parts were found in trash barrels in that area, it is believed it belong to protesters who were arrested during the massacre of Kentucky Round in Sana’a. Attorney General has received a notification of this.”

The Saleh regime simultaneously engages in mass arrests as it steals corpses and kidnaps the wounded. Family members hope their missing relatives are “disappeared” in the dungeons of Yemeni prisons, as thousands are. Current reports indicate at least 500 were taken the night of May 30th, and it is unknown how many are dead in a mass grave.

PHOTOS (warning graphic)/ VIDEOS and more: http://janenovak.wordpress.com/yemen-protesters-burnt-alive-buried-in-mass-graves/

(eagainst) [1] Bahraini Shia women hold up pictures of King Hamad and a slain activist during his funeral in the town of Sitra outside the capital, Manama on March 20, 2011. A former Bahraini lawmaker says that around 100 people have gone missing during the Manama-ordered crackdown on the countrywide popular revolution.“We don’t know anything about them, we’ve asked hospital and ministry authorities and none of them are telling us anything about them,” said Hady al-Mussawy, formerly a parliamentarian with Al Wefaq, the country’s largest political party. He made the comments during a short protest in front of the United Nations building in the capital, calling on the world body to make sure rescue medical services operate in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Demonstrators in the Shia-majority country have been demanding the ouster of the Sunni-led Al Khalifa monarchy as well as constitutional reforms since February 14. The government recently razed the capital’s Pearl Square, where hundreds of protesters had been camping.

At least 12 people have been killed and about 1,000 injured since the start of the anti-government protests during the government-backed armed attacks. On Thursday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay denounced a new move by the government to take control of the country’s hospitals amid the killing and injuring of protesters by the security forces.

“There are reports of arbitrary arrests, killings, beatings of protesters and of medical personnel, and of the takeover of hospitals and medical centers by various security forces,” she said. Manama recently sought the help of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to further suppress the protests. Violence has intensified against the demonstrators ever since the deployment of Saudi and Emirati forces in Bahrain.

(…)

ΥΕΜΕΝ: The people of Yemen come under sniper fire as they gather to demonstrate

Read more: http://eagainst.com/articles/100-missing-after-bahrain-crackdown/

(eecho.ie) A massive demonstration against Yemen’s government turned into a killing field today as snipers fired down on protesters from rooftops and police made a wall of fire with tires and petrol, blocking a key escape route.

At least 46 people died, including some children, in an attack that marked a new level of brutality in President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s crackdown on dissents. Medical officials and witnesses said hundreds of people were wounded.

The dramatic escalation in violence suggested Saleh was growing more fearful that the unprecedented street protests over the past month, set off by unrest across the Arab world, could unravel his 32-year grip on power in this volatile, impoverished and gun-saturated nation.

The United States, which has long relied on Saleh for help fighting terrorism, condemned the violence.

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

They stormed several buildings where the snipers had taken position, dragging out 10 people, including some the protesters claimed were paid thugs. They said the men would be handed over to judicial authorities.

The protest in the capital, Sanaa, drew tens of thousands of people, the largest crowd yet in Yemen’s uprising. It began peacefully. A military helicopter flew low over the square just as protesters were arriving after the main Muslim prayer services of the week.

A short while later, gunfire rang out from rooftops and houses, sending the crowd into a panic. Dozens were hit and crumpled to the ground. One man ran for help cradling a young boy shot in the head.

Many of the victims were shot in the head and neck, their bodies left sprawled on the ground or carried off by other protesters desperately pressing scarves to wounds to try to stop the bleeding.

Police used burning tires and petrol to block demonstrators from fleeing down a main road leading to sensitive locations, including the president’s residence.

“It is a massacre,” said Mohammad al-Sabri, an opposition spokesman. “This is part of a criminal plan to kill off the protesters, and the president and his relatives are responsible for the bloodshed in Yemen today.”

Witnesses said the snipers wore the beige uniforms of Yemen’s elite forces and that others were plainclothes security officers.

President Saleh denied at a press conference that government forces were involved, claiming that residents angry over the expanding protest camp had opened fire. He ordered the formation of a committee to investigate.

Doctors at a makeshift field hospital near the protest camp at Sanaa University confirmed at least 46 dead, three of them children.

A Yemeni photojournalist, Jamal al-Sharaabi, was among the dead, medical officials said. He is the first journalist killed in the unrest.

Interior Minister General Mouthar al-Masri, who is in charge of internal security forces, put the number of dead at 25 and the injured at 200.

The US, which supports Yemen’s government with 250 million US dollars (£154 million) in military aid this year alone to battle one of al-Qaida’s most active franchises, condemned the attack on protesters.

“Those responsible for today’s violence must be held accountable,” President Barack Obama said. He called on Saleh to adhere to his public pledge to allow peaceful demonstrations.

Instead, 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.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was “deeply troubled”, said his spokesman, Martin Nesirky. He “reiterates his call for utmost restraint and reminds the government of Yemen that it has an obligation to protect civilians.”

Demonstrators are demanding jobs, greater political freedoms and an end to government corruption.

In the latest defection by a political ally of the president, Nabil al-Faqih, the Yemeni tourism minister, resigned today from his Cabinet position and from the ruling party to protest against the killings.

“This is the least I can do,” he said. Al-Faqih is the second minister to quit and the latest of several politicians to resign from Saleh’s Congress Party.

Throughout the unrest, security forces and government supporters have used live fire, rubber bullets, tear gas, sticks, knives and rocks against the protesters, who have only grown in number in Sanaa and in many other cities around the nation. The protesters say they will not go until Saleh does and have rejected offers to discuss a unity government.

“They want to scare and terrorise us. They want to drag us into a cycle of violence – to make the revolution meaningless,” said Jamal Anaam, a 40-year-old activist camping out in the protest site.

He said government opponents would not follow the example of their counterparts in Libya who took up arms against Moammar Gadhafi. “They want to repeat the Libyan experiment, but we refuse to be dragged into violence no matter what the price,” he said.

The violence showed the government of Saleh and his family are increasingly worried about losing power, said Gregory Johnsen, an expert on Yemen at Princeton University.

“He has been in power for more than three decades and he’s falling back on what he knows best, which is increasingly violent methods.”

The tactic is unlikely to work, he predicted.

“Yemen does not have a population that’s easily cowed, so I don’t think they will be put out by fear of death,” he said. “It’s a heavily armed country. Many of the people there are quite confident and capable of putting security into their own hands.”

Saleh and his weak government have faced down many serious challenges, often forging tricky alliances with restive tribes to delicately extend power beyond the capital. Most recently, he has battled an on-and-off, seven-year armed rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south, and an al-Qaida offshoot that is of great concern to the US

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which formed in January 2009, has moved beyond regional aims and attacked the West, including sending a suicide bomber who came terrifyingly close to blowing up a US-bound airliner with a bomb sewn into his underwear. The device failed to detonate properly.

Source: http://www.eecho.ie/news/world/up-to-46-killed-by-yemen-rally-snipers-497810.html

(amnesty.org) The Yemeni authorities must end deadly night raids and other attacks on protests, Amnesty International said today, after one protester was killed and around 100 injured in the capital Sana’a late last night.

According to media reports, security forces used live rounds and tear gas against protesters camped outside Sana’a University. Protesters are demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 32-year rule.

“This is the second time in three weeks that protesters have been killed in late night raids by the security forces in the capital,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“These disturbing heavy-handed tactics used with lethal effect against protesters must stop immediately. People must be allowed to assemble and protest in peace.”

Some 30 people have reportedly now been killed in Yemen during ongoing unrest which began early last month. Protesters are demanding government reform and an end to corruption and unemployment.

Yesterday’s shooting followed reports of a riot by inmates at the capital’s Central Prison. The inmates were reported to have called for the sacking of the director of the prison, and for a new government. At least two prisoners were killed and 60 people wounded.

Yesterday also saw protests in the southern city of Aden and in the town of ‘Ataq, south-east of Sana’a.

In the central region of Ibb tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demand action over an attack on a protest camp by pro-government protesters on Sunday which reportedly killed one and injured dozens.

Yemeni soldiers were also reported to have opened fire on protesters in the northern town of Harf Sufyan on 4 March. According to information received by Amnesty International, the protesters were leaving the protest area in cars when soldiers at a military post opened fire, killing two men in the same car and wounding several others. The Yemeni Ministry of Defence has denied allegations that the military opened fire on protesters.

In the previous late night raid in Sana’a, two protesters were shot dead on 22 February when security forces, aided by men described by witnesses as “thugs”, stormed a group of people who had set up a protest camp outside the university.

Yemen is one of a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region that have seen increasing unrest since mass protests in Egypt and Tunisia.

Source: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/yemen-urged-halt-deadly-attacks-protesters-2011-03-09