Motorcycle gunman opens fire at Yemen protest, 1 dead

Motorcycle gunman opens fire at Yemen protest, 1 dead
# 20 April 2011 20:15 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. A gunman on a motorcycle opened fire on a Yemeni anti-government protest camp on Wednesday, killing one person, witnesses said, APA reports quoting “Reuters”.
Yemen has seen heightened violence over the past week as activists have tested the limits of security forces, marching outside their traditional protest zones and setting tyres alight in the streets to push demands for a transfer of power.
Witnesses said the gunman roared to the edge of a square in the Red Sea town of Hudaida and shot at protesters who were taking part in Muslim dawn prayers.
The man who died had been guarding the protesters.
"The youth were doing the dawn prayer and the guards were inspecting the outskirts of the square when a motorcycle passed by and opened fire on them," said Abdel-Hafez Mohammed, one of the guards.
More than 123 protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces since activists took to the streets in January calling for an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 32-year rule.
Western and Gulf Arab allies have tried without success to negotiate an orderly transition of power from the president and opposition patience has been wearing thin.
Saleh says he wants a handover but only to "safe hands."
Doctors said three more protesters died overnight from wounds suffered in clashes in the capital Sanaa, bringing to six the number of people killed by police who opened fire on protesters in Sanaa and the industrial city of Taiz on Tuesday.
In the southern city of Aden, gunmen shot dead a soldier at a protest that drew hundreds of people demanding Saleh step down.
A security source said the soldier was killed in clashes with protesters, but activists said the gunmen were not linked with their movement and insisted the demonstration was peaceful.
Western countries and Arab neighbors fear a prolonged standoff could cause clashes between rival military units in Sanaa and elsewhere in the mountainous country where Saleh has already lost control of several provinces.
Those countries, which have long backed Saleh as a bulwark against an active Yemen-based al Qaeda arm, fear sustained clashes would cause chaos that could benefit the global militant group.
A government official said a Gulf Arab foreign minister was expected to visit Sanaa later this week to give the government and opposition the Gulf Cooperation Council’s opinion on how peace talks could proceed to end the crisis.
A government delegation met Gulf Arab foreign ministers in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday and an opposition delegation met the foreign ministers in Riyadh on Sunday.
Gulf Arab states stepped in this month with an offer to mediate in Yemen after Western-brokered talks stalled.
Saleh, whose term ends in 2013, has warned of civil war and the break-up of the country if he is forced out.