Yemen attacks Taiz overnight as youth urge UN action
What began as a bloody day in Yemen, with random shelling in two cities, turned into an overnight massacre.
In the capital Sanaa today, two were killed in a busy shopping district, including a teen, when state security forces began random shelling. The area is under the control of youthful protesters who have been demonstrating since January for the overthrow of the Saleh regime.
In Taiz, Republican Guard forces shelled residential areas in the city center, injuring several residents. In the evening, the city’s protest center, Freedom Square was attacked. So far, eight fatalities have been reported along with dozens of injuries as the violence continues.
The Republican Guard, which contains the US trained elite counter-terror unit, is headed by President Ali Saleh’s son, Ahmed, and has committed much of the violence against protesters. Another of Saleh’s relatives, nephew General Yahya Saleh, heads the Central Security forces. In an interview with France24, General Saleh said the revolution was “boring” and accused defected soldiers of shooting the protesters to create negative publicity for the regime.
In May, state forces set Taiz’s Freedom Square ablaze at midnight and shot fleeing protesters. The square was later cleared by bulldozers. But despite nearly 100 fatalities on that day, the protesters re-took the square and continue to hold daily protests and rallies calling for the ouster of the regime.
The Organizational Committee of the Popular Revolution issued a press release on Tuesday urging UN action against the Saleh regime. The committee highlighted hundreds of protester fatalities and said the months long black-out was a tactic of collective punishment meant to coerce the millions of demonstrators into submission.
“We are being murdered once by Saleh’s regime weapons and his children, and we’re being murdered more by your silence,” the statement read.
Protesters asked the UN to refer the Saleh regime to the International Criminal Court and freeze his assets. They urged member states to suspend weapons sales and to end to military support and assistance.
The letter which was addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, asked the UN to “stand on the side of the young males and females and the people of Yemen to achieve their legitimate demands in change and establishing a civil, modern and democratic country.”
The Saleh regime has stalled the international community for months, agreeing and then rejecting an initiative which afforded the dictatorship immunity from prosecution in return for a transfer of power to a transition government. General Saleh clarified in the interview that his uncle, President Saleh, has no intention of ever signing.