30 Dead As Yemeni Forces Fire on Protesters After Friday Prayers

At least 30 people were killed today when Yemeni forces and snipers fired on a crowd in Sanaa after Friday prayers.

The LA Times reported:

Yemeni security forces and unidentified snipers opened fire at a protest in Sanaa after Muslim prayers on Friday, killing at least 30 people and wounding 200 others, medical sources and witnesses told Reuters.

Security forces at first fired into the air to prevent anti-government protesters from marching after prayers from their headquarters at Sanaa University.

After the initial gunfire, the shooting continued and the toll mounted. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the deaths, with witnesses saying firing appeared to come from different directions.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis had gathered in Sanaa for competing prayers and protests as businessmen floated a proposal to end a standoff between President Ali Abdullah Saleh and protesters demanding he step down immediately.

“The situation is tragic. There are dozens killed and hundreds wounded. We couldn’t send relief,” said Abdul-Qawi al-Shumeiri, secretary-general of the doctor’s syndicate.

Protesters accused plainclothes snipers of firing from rooftops, and said they had detained several of the gunmen.

“The youth stormed one of the buildings and arrested seven snipers who were firing on the demonstrators,” said activist Mohamed al-Sharaby.

The Yemeni opposition today said that there was no longer any way to reach a mutual understanding with the government after 30 people were killed.

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