March 17, 2011 / 11:25 AM / 9 years ago

At least 84 wounded in new Yemen clashes - activists

Anti-government protesters gather under a sign reading "A new Yemen" demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdulah Saleh, outside Sanaa University March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni security forces used live fire and tear gas on Thursday on protesters demanding an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, wounding at least 84, activists said.

Protesters in the southern city of Taiz said 80 people were wounded there and four were reported wounded in the capital Sanaa. State media made no mention of the incidents.

Government website September 26 said there were marches in many cities in support of Saleh and his offers of political reforms, including an offer not to run for reelection in 2013.

The Arabian Peninsula state, neighbour to oil giant Saudi Arabia, has been hit by weeks of protests trying to shake loose Saleh’s 32-year grip on power.

The United States, which has long seen Saleh as a bulwark against an active al Qaeda wing based in Yemen, has condemned the bloodshed and backed the right to peaceful protest. But it has also insisted only dialogue can end the political crisis.

September 26 said three militants suspected of links to al Qaeda were killed when they tried to attack a military checkpoint on Thursday in Marib province. Also on Thursday, security forces said they had arrested two suspected al Qaeda members.

Both pro- and anti-government factions appeared to be increasingly resorting to violence, but activists said protesters had not used force in the latest demonstrations.

Some 150 people were wounded on Wednesday when security forces tried to break up a rally in the Red Sea city of Hudaida.

Yemen’s rial has fallen up to almost 8 percent against the dollar in the past week as unrest takes its toll on the poor Arab country’s economy, traders said late on Wednesday.

Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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