Saleh Backers Attack Yemeni Protesters

Clashes in Sanaa University as Police Block Exits

Some of the most violent clashes yet in the growing Yemeni protests were reported today, when “loyalists” to President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived at the Sanaa University campus with broken bottles and daggers and attacked thousands of demonstrators.

The protesters attempted to flee, but police were said to have blocked off the exits to the campus, ostensibly to “keep the two sides apart.” Instead it seems to have kept the protesters conveniently in range of the attackers.

Clashes were also reported in the city of Taiz, just south of Sanaa, where police attacked protesters during an overnight rally. Though police in Sanaa have sought to avoid direct clashes, in the rest of Yemen, where foreign media don’t have any presence, they have been far more aggressive.

Saleh has announced that he is postponing a planned trip to the US, which was supposed to take place later this month, due to “regional conditions.” Though the Obama Administration has eagerly backed Saleh, the ouster of Egypt’s long-time US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak has led many of the region’s dictators to wonder if US support is enough to ensure the survival of their regimes anymore.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of