YEMEN: Amnesty International calls for end to government's use of deadly force
Amnesty International has called on Yemeni authorities to stop using unnecessary deadly force against anti-government protesters. The action came after security forces opened fire on demonstrations Thursday in the capital, Sana, and the city of Taiz, killing at least two.
Videos posted online are said to show thousands of protesters in the streets of Taiz on Thursday, chanting and marching past security forces, then fleeing from what sounds like gunfire.
The appeal from the London-based human rights group came ahead of marches planned Friday on the presidential palace from a protest camp near Sana University.
Yemen's ruling party has dubbed Friday a "Day of Unity" while anti-government protesters are calling it a "Day of Determination."
According to Amnesty International’s latest figures, more than 145 people have been killed in Yemen during months of demonstrations calling for an end to the 32-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
"Security forces in Yemen must be immediately stopped from using live ammunition on unarmed protesters," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
"The Yemeni government must allow its people to express their genuine grievances without fear of violence and killing. It must also ensure that justice is done for all those killed unlawfully while exercising their right to peaceful protest."
Eyewitnesses in Sana told Amnesty International that one man was killed Thursday when security forces opened fire on protesters as they marched toward the Council of Ministers. Dozens more are said to have been injured.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo
Photo: Anti-government protesters in Sana chew qat at their tent during a sit-in Thursday to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Credit: Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters.
Video: Protesters march past security forces in Taiz on Thursday. Credit: YouTube.