Protests continued in public squares in Sanaa, Aden, Taiz and a number of other Yemeni provinces Monday (March 14th) as the conflict between demonstrators and government forces became more violent.
Conflict erupted in Marib's Change Square as protesters tried to force their way into the provincial governor's building. Marib Governor Naji Al Zaidi was stabbed in the neck when assailants attacked his convoy. Fifteen demonstrators suffered various injuries during clashes.
In al-Jawf province, which is adjacent to Marib, at least 10 demonstrators were wounded as they broke into the governorate building. Several demonstrators reached the state security building where the head of the al-Masloub directorate and two soldiers were killed, according to an Interior Ministry statement published online Monday.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced a limited cabinet reshuffle Monday, appointing Hamoud Mohammed Abad as minister of endowments and guidance. Abad will succeed Judge Hamoud al-Hattar who was leading talks with the opposition parties. Aref Awad al-Zawka was appointed as minister of youth and sports, succeeding Hammoud Mohammed Abad.
Confrontations began Saturday at Change Square in Sanaa when security forces tried to break up the demonstration using tear gas, which led to clashes between protestors and security forces. As the situation worsened, security forces used live bullets, killing two people, according to protestors. About 1,000 protesters suffered from choking because of gas, including 50 who are in serious condition, according to Dr. Mohammed Alabahi, head of the field hospital at Change Square.
Saleh formed a panel of appeals court judges and tribal sheikhs to investigate Saturday's events in Change Square to verify the type of gas allegedly used by security forces on demonstrators. There were accusations that the gas used was not tear gas, but a toxic gas that infects the nervous system and causes severe choking.
Several doctors demanded that the interior ministry disclose the type of gas used against the demonstrators so they could find an appropriate treatment. According to Dr. Hosni Jawsai, professor of neurology at the University of Sanaa, "The gas is a compound of toxic material which exposes victims to severe cramps and choking that may lead to death in some cases."
On Sunday, clashes resumed in Change Square in front of the University of Sanaa where security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas to break up a clash between protesters and ruling party supporters, according to Fahd Almonovi, a member of the Co-ordinating Committee for the Youth of the Revolution. The clashes resulted in two deaths and dozens of injuries.
Demonstrations were held in several Yemeni provinces to condemn the violence and show solidarity with protesters in Change Square. Ensuing clashes resulted in eight deaths and dozens of injuries.
In Aden, Alia Fouad, a human rights activist, told Al-Shorfa that students in Maala demonstrated Saturday morning, and two were wounded. Demonstrations intensified at night in Dar Saad, when demonstrators stormed the police station and clashes contributed to three deaths and 10 injuries.
Another demonstration was launched in the city of Mukalla, in eastern Yemen, which resulted in the death of one student.
Dar Saad was the site of renewed demonstrations Sunday, where protesters broke into the police station and set it on fire and burned police cars in apparent retaliation for the victims of the clashes on Saturday.
The Yemeni Ministry of Defence announced in a statement that one of the wounded had died, increasing the death toll in Aden to four. Demonstrations condemning what happened in Change Square occurred in Mareb, Amran, Al-Hudaydah, Al-Bayda and Shabwa, and for the first time, in the border province of Mahra, which is adjacent to Oman.
The protests followed Saleh's initiative, announced Thursday, which called for creation of a new constitution and adoption of a parliamentary system.
Ali Ansi, a member of parliament representing the opposition Reform Party who participated in the Change Square protest, told Al-Shorfa, "The regime has dropped its cards and its mask. The president had promised to protect opposition protesters. Is this the kind of protection that the president intended?"
Political parties that are members of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties called for Yemenis to "go into the street and join the squares of change and freedom in the various provincial capitals and district centres to defend their lives, their children's lives, their dignity and their right to a free, secure and dignified life", according to their statement issued on Saturday.
Tariq al-Shami, spokesman for the ruling Congress Party, accused the Joint Meeting Party of starting the events of Saturday. He told Al-Shorfa that "groups of troublemakers that belong to the Joint Meeting Parties pitched tents by force in front of houses and commercial shops, which led to friction and clashes and disorderly conduct between citizens who live in those neighbourhoods, and who are being harassed by the protesters. Riot police had to intervene to halt the clashes and end the disorderly conduct, and this was achieved with water cannons and tear gas smoke bombs."
Al-Shami denied that the armed forces, the Republican Guard and or the Special Guard were involved in the Saturday morning confrontations.