The Yemen Defense Council has announced a state of emergency in the country in an effort to ease the tension after the bloody attacks against peaceful protesters in Sana’a earlier today. The announment will give the government the ability to restrict people’s rights and spy on their networks according to a senior government official. “The country is witnessing a real crisis, and the state of emergency is the only option in ensuring that Yemen can be safe,” a senior Interior Ministry official said. Legal attorney Hussein Al-Mashdali, however, said that the calling for a state of emergency in not constitutional because a state of emergency law does not exist. President Saleh has ordered that a fact finding committee be made up to investigate today’s killings and report back to the government within days.
This comes as the number of anti regime protesters killed in today’s attack increased to 47 with at least 55 still in critical condition. Medical sources on the ground are comparing the events in Sana’a to those in Gaza or Baghdad, saying that Sana’a is more like a war zone than an area for peaceful protesters. “The attacks in Sana’a were unexpected and innocent people are dying because of expressing their views peacefully,” said activist Khaled Anesi. The number of injured in the attacks are still in the hundreds with tens of doctors volunteering to help those injured at Sana’a University. Pools of blood were seen in numerous areas at Sana’a University where anti regime followers have been protesting for more than 40 days demanding Saleh to step down for the sake of the country.
The revolution youth in Sana’a have confirmed that a big portion of the shooting took place from the roof top of a senior ruling party official, Ahmed Ali Mohsen, the Governor of Mahweet province. The youth also confirmed that government vehicles took at least twenty of the wounded to the National Security Prison instead of hospitals. “At least seven National Security vehicles took the injured to prison and we fear they will be harassed and not given treatment,” said Ahmed Bahri, an attorney at the anti regime protest.
Tens of eyewitnesses confirmed that members of President Saleh’s ruling family were seen leading the shooting rampage, with sources saying that Saleh’s nephew led the way for the bloody Friday. Eyewitnesses also said that security forces have stopped allowing ambulances from entering or leaving the area of the protest causing the death toll to rise.
During the shootings, a governmental helicopter was patrolling the area of the protests for more than ten minutes. “The government should have used the helicopter to help the injured. Tens are in critical condition and cannot be taken to hospitals,” said a medic on the ground, Dr. Mosed Saleh. The opposition Joint Meeting Parties JMP has called President Saleh to step down saying that the blood of Yemenis is more valuable than his stay in power. Mohammed Qahtan, the Spokesperson for the opposition JMP parties said, “The funeral of this regime will follow the funeral of the innocent civilians who were killed today.”
Senior opposition leader Hamid Ahmar said that the attacks on protesters are unacceptable and that the end for the regime is near. “Saleh has brought upon himself a life of disgrace after the killing of innocent protesters. This will not be forgotten by Yemenis.”
International companies have started to deport their foreign staffs from Yemen while over 300 westerners have already left Yemen in the last four hours. The American and French embassies called on all their citizens to leave Yemen following growing attacks in Yemen, and fears that a civil war is on the verge.
The government from its side has denied the involvement of security forces in the attack against the protesters. Though the shooting came from the roof tops of governmental officials residents, authorities are denying any links to today’s attacks. “Security forces were not involved in the attacks, and the shooting took place from the residents located near the area of the protest at Sana’a University,” a source at the presidential palace said.
Elsewhere in Yemen, more than half a million gathered earlier today in Taiz province demanding the fall of the regime. Tens of thousands of anti regime protesters also took place in the provinces of Aden, Hodieda, Amran, Baitha, Dhammar, Mukkala, Thale and Ibb.