SANAA – Yemeni police opened fire on demonstrators attempting to expand a protest camp in the capital Sanaa on Tuesday wounding at least four, medics said.
The police fired both tear gas and live rounds in an effort to prevent the protesters against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s three-decade rule expanding the camp they have set up in a square near Sanaa university, an AFP correspondent reported.
There were also clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the south of Yemen. One policeman was wounded as hundreds of schoolchildren took to the streets of the city of Ataq, in Shabwa province, on the third straight day of protests demanding that Saleh quit, witnesses said.
One policeman was hurt by a hurled stone when security forces fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators who tried to storm education ministry offices in the town.
Schools in the main southern city of Aden were also shut as demonstrators called on staff and pupils to join their protests, a ministry official said.
“We have decided to send pupils back home and close the schools over the coming days, in anticipation of violence, and to avoid having them directed by the opposition towards bad conduct,” the official said requesting anonymity.
Hundreds of schoolchildren joined the protests in Aden, chanting “no studying, no teaching, until the president falls,” witnesses said.
The opposition vowed on Sunday to intensify its protests against Saleh after the embattled president — in power since 1978 — refused its demands for him to resign by the end of the year.
The demonstrations in Yemen echo political turmoil that has gripped many Arab nations this year, forcing the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt to quit and throwing Libya into deadly conflict.
Amnesty International said at least 27 people have been killed in Yemen since the protests against Saleh’s rule began on January 27.