A (AFP) - At least 10 people were wounded on Wednesday when police opened fire with live rounds on anti-government demonstrators in Yemen's western port city of Al-Hudaydah, medics told AFP.
Police firing both tear gas and bullets intervened after pro-regime loyalists attacked protesters with batons and rocks, witnesses said.
At least 200 protesters suffered breathing difficulties after the tear gas attack, medics said, adding that nearly 20 people were stabbed and some 30 others were injured by rocks.
The violence erupted following a pro-government demonstration by supporters of the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) in Al-Hudaydah. Protests across Yemen against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule, inspired by similar popular uprisings across the Arab world, have been marred by violence that has left some 40 people dead. Yemen is a US ally in the war against Al-Qaeda, and is also fighting Shiite rebels in the north and a secessionist movement in the south.
In the northeastern provincial capital of Al-Jawf, three GPC loyalists were wounded in clashes with opposition supporters on the third straight day of attempts by both sides to gain control of govt headquarters there, a local official said. An activist with the main Islamist opposition Al-Islah (Reform) party was shot dead in a gunfight with pro-regime loyalists in Al-Jawf on Tuesday, a security official has said. And on Monday, 20 people demanding Saleh's resignation were injured when they assaulted the government headquarters in Al-Jawf, northeast of Sanaa, an official said.
Security forces and pro-regime loyalists, who were guarding the building and opened fire in an effort to break up the protest, were wounded by stones hurled by the protesters.
Meanwhile, security forces in Syria on Wednesday arrested more than two dozen protesters in the capital Damascus, in a second day of rare protests that are banned under emergency laws in place since 1963. Despite the ban, some 200 people took to the streets of Old Damascus on Tuesday, calling for liberty and political freedoms, and on Wednesday dozens of relatives of political prisoners demonstrated to demand their release. "Free the prisoners" the protesters chanted as they gathered in Marjeh Square near the interior ministry in central Damascus where they were joined by several human rights activists, AFP correspondents and witnesses said.