Friday, June 3, 2011

Yenemi president wounded, and other stories from the Arab Spring

Yemen tv showed Saleh's portrait when his audio message was played. Some sources say the president was more seriousley wounded than the world was made to believe.

 Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, says he is "well and in good health" after suffering injuries in an attack on his presidential palace in the capital, Sanaa. In an audio address delivered on state television on Friday night, Saleh said the strike, where "seven officers were martyred", was by an "outlaw gang" - by which he menat the opposition Hashed tribe led by Sadeq al-Ahmar.
Saleh was wounded when shells hit the mosque in the presidential palace compound where he and others officials were praying. At least three guards and Sheikh Ali Mohsen al-Matari, an imam at the presidential compound's mosque, died. 'Several other officials and officers'" were wounded. Saleh was taken to the defence ministry hospital to be treated for his injuries, which according to officials weere minor. Some sources - reliable sources according to blogster Jane Novak - said that his injuries are not that light at all.

Friday's attack came soon after Yemeni troops, who have deployed heavy weaponry in their battle against the tribesmen, sent a shell crashing into the home of Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar, a leader of the biggest opposition party and brother of Sheikh Sadeq. A-Ahmar's office denied responsibility. It blamed Saleh himself for the attack, calling it part of his effort to help justify a government escalation of street fighting in the capital. Some say that the attack did not come from outside the compound, but that shells were fired from inside it

Tens of protesters shot dead during potests on Friday 3 June in 
Blood drips from the name 'Syria' on this placard carried during a demonstration.

Syrian security forces have opened fire on one of the largest anti-government protests in the 10-week uprising so far. In the central city of Hama at least 67 people were killed. The toll is likely to rise as many weree wounded. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the victims were killed as security forces dispersed a rally of more than 50,000.  Irony of history: In the same city of Hama some 10.000 - 25.000 people were killed in 1982 during an uprising against president Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad.
Syrian troops also pounded the central town of Rastan with artillery and gunfire for a seventh day on Friday, killing at least two people. The Local Co-ordination Committees, which helps organise and document Syria's protests, said troops also opened fire on residents fleeing the town.
Friday's protests reached nearly throughout the country, from a village in the south to a city in the northeast. Protesters even gathered in several Damascus suburbs, though the capital has not seen the kind of disruption as many other cities. Friday's deaths bring the toll in Rastan and nearby Talbiseh to 74 killed since last Saturday. The government cut internet service across most of the country, a potentially dire blow for a movement that motivates people with graphic YouTube videos of the crackdown and loosely organises protests on Facebook pages.
In the southern city of Daraa, where the uprising began 10 weeks ago, scores of people rallied in the city's old quarter, chanting "No dialogue with the killers of children," an activist said. The protesters were referring to a decree by Assad to set up a committee tasked with leading a national dialogue. The regime also released hundreds of political prisoners this week after Assad issued a pardon. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said leading Kurdish politician Mashaal Tammo and Muhannad al-Hassani, who heads the Syrian Organization for Human Rights, were released Thursday.

Bahrain: again teargas and bullets

Bahraini police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marching against the government near the capital Manama, eyewitnesses say. The crackdown on Friday came just two days after the tiny Gulf kingdom's authorities lifted emergency rule. Clashes took place also earler this week around Manama.
The protesters in Manama were marching adjacent to the city's Pearl Roundabout, which was the epicentre of weeks of protests against the kingdom's Sunni rulers, with demonstrators in particular demanding more rights for the island nation's majority Shia population. There were no immediate reports of injuries during the protests, the eyewitnesses said. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

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