Update Monday evening: What could be feared alkready from the appallingt pictures is now confimrd; the number of deaths in Taiz as a result of the çleansing operation'' of Freedom square in Taiz is at least 50. This is what the Yemen Post wrote:
At least 50 protesters were killed in Taiz today in continuous attacks by government security forces, medical sources in Taiz confirmed. Bushra Maktati, a leading human rights activist in Taiz said that freedom square has basically disappeared after bulldozers took down all the tents and burnt everything down.
She added that over half a million Protesters were always at freedom square and now it is empty. "More than 52 have been killed among them 15 burnt alive while the were sleeping in thier burning tents," said Maktari.
Incredible cruel and graphic pictures from the city of Taiz inYemen. Republican Guards and armed thugs caused a bloodbath when they broke up a camp that protesters since four months maintained on Freedom Square. The first video shows clearly how thugs and army snipers were shooting at the crowd. AFP reported on Monday that some 20 people were killed. Earlier reports spoke about 90 - 120 wounded.
The second and third video show the chaos in a hospital in Taiz and the burning of tents and other possesions of the protesters. Jane Novack reported on her blog that also many things like telephones, laptops etc.- were stolen. She wrote that even the exact number of deaths is unknown, as also many bodies were taken away from the streets or even stolen from hospitals.
Taiz was not the only city were people were killed. Also in Zinjibar, in the governorate of Abyan, at least six people died when the city was taken over by islamists and forces that are believed to belong to AQAP (Al-Qaeda on the Arab Peninsula). I mentioned the takeover already briefly in my posting on Saturday. It is now more clear than ever that the whole thing was orchestrated by president Ali Abdallah Saleh in order to show . The newspaper Yemen Post got a confirmation form the ministry of Defense that half of the government forces in Zinjibar had received orders to leave the city before the take-over. The opposition parties, united in the Joint Meeting parties JMP, issued a statement in which they blamed president Saleh for the take-over. The statement said that the militants in question work for Saleh and are made up by him to use against the people when he wants. "He uses these tactics to show the international community what risks Yemen would pass through if he leaves office," said the JMP statement. A senior opposition JMP official said that Saleh promised this week that Yemen will enter a civil war and Abyan will be taken over by al-Qaeda, and that is what is happening now.
In the capital Sana'a sporadic fighting seems to take place, in spit of a truce in the Hasaba district. The truce was reached on Friday between president Saleh's men and the forces of the Hashed tribes of sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar. AFP quotes Abdel Qawi al-Qaisi, the head of Al-Ahmar's office, who said that the truce included an agreement, reached during talks on Saturday, that Al-Ahmar's men will evacuate the ministries and other public building they occupied during tha figfhting and that the presidential guard and Saleh supporters will leave their positions around the residence of Al-Ahmar.
Other news from Yemen is that again a high ranking officer of the presidential guard went over to the opposition. In this case it was general Ali Abdallah Aleiwa, a former minisyer of dfense. He was followed by some lower ranking officers.