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Yemen Violence Continues; Death Toll Several Hundred
September 25, 2011

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Yemeni government troops fired full-bore on a square full of protesters in Sanaa, the capital, on Saturday, killing 40 people. The troops fired on the orders of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is back in the country after yet another trip to Saudia Arabia for treatment on wounds suffered in an assassination attempt a few weeks ago.

The streets of the capital have become a war zone, with gunmen roaming the streets and brandishing their weapons and their loyalties, as designated by the various uniforms that they wear. Many of Yemen's top military leaders have turned against Saleh and have brought troops loyal to them into the streets to fight against government forces. Primary among those now fighting against the government is Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who early in the months-old uprising denounced Saleh and took the entire 1st Armored Division into opposition.

Protesters continue to occupy a central area in Sanaa that they have labeled Change Square, reminiscent of Egypt's Tahrir Square. The results in Yemen, however, have been far different from the constitutional overhaul that occurred when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down after decades of authoritarian rule.

Saleh has ruled his country in much the same way and until the past few months has faced relatively sporadic opposition. When thousands of people gathered in large cities in Yemen, just like efforts in Egypt, Saleh responded with waves of violent crackdowns. The death toll now numbers in the hundreds.



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