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Yemen: More Protesters Killed as Political Plans Multiply (Videos)

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

While Yemen's security forces once again fired live weapons and killed opposition demonstrators, politicians and protesters are attempting behind-the-scenes political manoeuvres to solve a growing stalemate after nearly a month of demonstrations aimed at ousting the country's government.

In Harf Sufyan, at least four protesters were killed when soldiers fired heavy weapons upon the thousands of anti-government demonstrators who gathered for Friday prayers. The area is known to support the Houthi rebels, who signed a peace treaty with the government in 2009 after fighting a five-year war. The Houthi leader, Abdel Malek al Houthi, supports protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh that have taken place throughout the country. Amnesty International says before Friday, March 4, an estimated 27 protesters had been killed since the beginning of demonstrations in mid-February.


A photo of a protester in Taiz District with the word “Leave” shaved into his head, from @AlaaIsam.

As word of the new deaths circulated, Tweeps responded:

@maguiremc: Is the #UN also going 2 do something about #Yemen?? Cannot keep quiet after gvmt bombs protesters in northern region.

@noora888: Pressures mounting on #Yemen President Ali Abdualla Saleh as over 100,000 people, incl. 2 major tribal chiefs join call 4 his resignation

@ArabsUnite: 22 Dead and 122 injured so far in #aden alone and #alisaleh still has the nerve to talk..#yemen #yf #aden #south

Demonstrations
Protesters complain Saleh has lost touch with the people — especially in the southern part of the country — while the economy is falling in this oil producing nation. Thousands of protesters also routinely gather in Sanaa to support the president, whose ouster they say could lead Yemen back to instability, increase attacks by Al Qaeda and perhaps lead to succession by the country's once independent southern provinces.

Friday protests took place in other parts of the country, but no violence has been reported.

Here is a video of a protester cutting a large photo of President Saleh in Mansoorah district in Yemen.

Here is a video of Friday's demonstration in Maalla.

Dueling peace plans
To meet some opposition demands, Saleh said he would step down after the 2013 presidential elections. And this week the President announced a plan for dialog with protesters and opposition parties. The proposal calls for (among other things) ending all public forms of dissent, creating a national government of reconciliation and forcing Parliament to approve a new set of election laws. Yemeni opposition groups rejected the president's proposal, which they claim is just a stalling tactic by the government.

The President also rejected a plan put forward by some opposition groups that call for a guaranteed right to protest, investigations into violence against demonstrators and a timetable set in place this year for a transfer of power.

The Yemen Peace Project published an analysis on the protesters’ plan from an “anonymous scholar” based in Sanaa:

There are two issues that are most interesting about the five points. One, what is missing. None of the points demand the removal of Saleh’s family members from government positions. This has been a primary demand from protesters from Sana’a to Taiz and Aden. Second, the group mentions political actors inside and outside Yemen, clearly referring to southern exile leaders. While president Saleh has often mentioned they would be welcomed in Yemen and included in the National Dialogue process, not many people in Yemen really see a role for al-Attas, al-Baidh or Ali Nasser, never mind can they assure their safety.

Tweeps also responded to the dueling political plans and the mood of the country.

@YemenPeaceNews:
Al-Zindani's new 8 point plan asks for unity goverment, end to public protests. Total non-starter for youth. http://bit.ly/hvyJk2 #Yemen #yf

@JNovak_Yemen: Saada, Amran, al Jawf organization affirms solidarity in move to overthrow #Saleh | Armies of Liberation: http://bit.ly/gSlaVo #Yemen

@peteskelley: No mention of Saleh stepping down, or elections just a Unity Govt – not sure this takes matters any further forward http://is.gd/uv49di

@snuraddin: I am Thrilled to see #people of #yemen write & comment about what's happening in a sense of #creativity #responsibility & #identity

@haroonmihtar: I have a feeling that something is going to erupt in #Yemen, there are no more dollars at any exchange.

@Abou_3ali: whatever happens after this revolution, 1big thing already changed: people are not afraid any more to speak out!! #yemen #yf

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

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