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Government supporters attack Yemen protesters

Yemen government supporters armed with sticks, knives and guns attacked thousands of protesters Wednesday, wounding hundreds in an increasingly violent crackdown on demonstrations calling for the country's longtime president to step down, witnesses said.

After nearly a month of protests, about 50 demonstrators have been killed by security forces or paid thugs, said Amal al-Bashi of the Yemen Center for Human Rights.

Police fired tear gas to break up Wednesday's melee in the southern al-Hudaydah port, where some 4,000 people have been camped out for weeks. Ten protesters were shot and dozens were stabbed and pounded with rocks, a medical official told the Associated Press. Others were injured as they were trampled by fleeing demonstrators. Hundreds suffered breathing problems because of the tear gas.

Yemen has been rocked by a month of daily street demonstrations set in motion by the tumult sweeping the Arab world. Fed up with corruption, poverty and a lack of political freedom, the protesters have demanded that President Ali Abdullah Saleh leave office after 32 years in power. Thousands are sleeping in public squares in cities and towns scattered throughout Yemen, refusing to leave until Saleh resigns.

Algeria: Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of 150, some of whom threw Molotov cocktails and stones, Reuters reported. The protesters had blocked a road east of the capital of Algiers as they demanded better housing.

Syria: President Bashar Assad's security forces, armed with batons, dispersed an opposition protest calling for the release of political prisoners. Witnesses said security personnel moved in to break up the rally by 100-150 activists near the Interior Ministry in Damascus, detaining at least 30 people.

Government supporters attack Yemen protesters 03/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 12:30am]
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