Yemeni security forces open fire on The Life March
About ten thousand are participating in the march which calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and other members of his regime to face trial for numerous massacres and other crimes committed by state security forces against protesters. .
After a trek of 170 miles, the procession was attacked by Central Security forces at it approached Sana’a Change Square, the center of Yemen’s Jasmine Revolution.
Several of the wounded were transported to the protesters’ field hospital in the square. However security forces are blocking ambulances from reaching many of injured bleeding out in the streets.
So far, medics have confirmed one fatality, but the number may rise as state violence is ongoing. Other reports indicate six were killed in the unprovoked attack.
CNN’s Mohammed Jamjoon reported on twitter that one protester said, “Everyone here is screaming, blood and tear gas everywhere..It’s a warzone out here.”
The march set out from Taiz on Tuesday to highlight public rejection of a UN sanctioned transition plan that offers President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his regime immunity from prosecution for crimes against the citizenry, including decades of mass corruption and assaults on protesters that resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries since February.
The six nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) devised the transition plan, which was roundly and repeatedly rejected by Yemenis since its proposal in April. However the US, EU and Saudi Arabia support the blueprint as a mechanism to restore stability.
The UN Security Council in a press statement on Friday expressed its endorsement of the plan saying, “The members of the Security Council reiterated their call that the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and implementation mechanism must be implemented in a transparent and timely manner.”
Beyond the immunity clause, Yemeni protesters also dispute the authenticity of the transition of power that is said to have occurred when Saleh’s Vice President assumed some executive authority. The protest movement rather uniformly sees the unity government is an extension of the long reigning Saleh military dictatorship and compromised “opposition” party leaders.
Re-branding the the regime will do little to address the multiple crises Yemen is facing as the underlying cause is the Saleh regime itself, activists allege. Today’s violence is an indication that little has changed despite international pronouncements to the contrary..
“These GCC states are not at all competent to deal with popular requests for liberty and freedom, not to mention democratic government, because they themselves are mostly despotic regimes,” observed Yemen’s Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYRC). “They themselves would never welcome such requests from their own people, let alone be ready to accommodate such demands by people in neighboring states.”
The Obama administration’s insistence in retaining elements of the Saleh administration and security forces has thwarted the regime change demanded by millions and allowed al Qaeda to flourish in southern towns. Although US counter-terror efforts have had more latitude to operate since protests began, the Saleh regime and al Qaeda have long had a symbiotic relationship.
Reports issued one hour into the attack confirmed seven dead from gun shot wounds and eighty-eight injured.