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Yemen's president fires Cabinet as protests grow

SANA, Yemen — Yemen's president fired his Cabinet on Sunday, while antigovernment demonstrations here in the capital grew in number and momentum two days after government-directed forces opened fire on protesters, killing at least 46 people and wounding more than 200.

While the implications of his announcement were unclear, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for 33 years, has come under increased pressure from the United States and from officials in his own government over his handling of the protests.

President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, telephoned Saleh on Sunday to express the White House's deep concern.

A senior administration official said Brennan told Saleh that any Yemeni government, no matter what its composition, must refrain from violence against protesters and support the right of the people of Yemen to engage in peaceful assembly.

Nine Yemeni ambassadors to European and Arab countries sent a letter to Saleh on Sunday condemning "the massacre" on Friday. That letter followed the resignations by several high-ranking Yemeni officials.

Syria

Police fired live ammunition and tear gas Sunday at thousands of Syrians protesting in the tense southern city of Daraa for a third consecutive day, killing one person and signaling that unrest in yet another Arab country is taking root, activists said. Enraged protesters set fire to several local government buildings, according to state media and a witness.

Information from the New York Times and Associated Press was used in this report.

Yemen's president fires Cabinet as protests grow 03/20/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 20, 2011 11:53pm]

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