Yemen Must Halt Attacks On Protesters

February 18, 2011

Yemen's demonstrations have been inspired by protest in Tunisia and Egypt, private

Demonstrations in Yemen continued for the third week. But in the last week the peaceful protests and call for political reform turned violent.

In al-Mansurah district of Aden, four men, Mohammed Ali Alalwani, Yassine Askar, Mohammed Ba’ashim, and Yassine Ali Aljahafy were killed when security forces opened fire on peaceful demonstrators.

Demonstrations in Aden is not new, since 2007 protests have been taking place in south of Yemen against discrimination by the government against Southerners.  But the level of violence and firing at peaceful demonstrators in recent weeks is new.

Since February and following demonstration in Sana’a and other cities, calling for president Saleh to stand down, protestors in Aden are increasing their call for secession of south Yemen.

Protesters came under attack by the plain-clothes security forces and other pro-government demonstrators. At least 20 people have been injured just over the past two days in Aden and Sana’a. According to witnesses, cameramen for Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and AP were beaten by unidentified attackers.

Scores of protesters who were arrested following demonstrations in Aden and Sana’a are being held incommunicado and are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.  Amnesty International is concerned that they may be held solely for the peaceful expression of their right to freedom of expression and assembly.

The Yemeni authorities must release all the people who have been detained as a result of their participation in peaceful demonstrations.

Amnesty International has called on the Yemen government to stop its security forces using excessive force after protesters and journalists were reportedly attacked at peaceful demonstrations around the country.