Violent protests across Yemen, 3 soldiers dead

Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:39pm GMT
 

By Mohammed Ghobari and Mohamed Sudam

SANAA (Reuters) - Scattered clashes broke out across Yemen on Monday, with three soldiers killed in the north, as military forces were deployed to check nationwide protests demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The impoverished Arabian Peninsula state has been rocked by weeks of demonstrations that have undermined Saleh's 32-year grip on power, with both pro- and anti-government supporters appearing to resort increasingly to violence in the struggle.

Seven demonstrators and three soldiers have died in clashes since Saturday, raising the death toll from unrest above 30.

The United States, which has long seen Saleh as a bulwark against a dynamic al Qaeda wing based in Yemen, has condemned the bloodshed and backed the right for peaceful protest, but has insisted only dialogue can end the political crisis.

Two soldiers and an officer were killed as clashes broke out in the northern al-Jawf province, which borders oil giant Saudi Arabia, Yemen's state news agency Saba said.

Fighting intensified after protesters stormed a municipal building. Security forces fired on them, wounding 10, but could not stop them seizing the building, a local official said.

PIPELINE BLAST

In the central Maarib province, where several oil and gas fields operated by international companies are located, a blast damaged an oil pipeline late on Monday, a tribal official said.   Continued...

<p>Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a rally outside Sanaa University March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah</p>
 
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