Committee with three from opposition to investigate the bloody Friday in Yemen
By Nasser Arrabyee 18/03/2011
The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered formation of an independent committee to investigate into the incident that killed and injured hundreds of protesters in Sana’a on Friday and also those that happened in Taiz, and Hodeida over the last few days.
The committee would include minister of justice, minister of human rights and general prosecutor and three from the opposition coalition JMP.
President Saleh said that the Friday incident foiled a Saudi-led gulf mediation to end the crisis in his country.
“We were in contact with our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Gulf Sates about mediation to end the crisis between Yemenis, but unfortunately, we feel that what happened today has foiled that mediation for saving the Yemeni bold,” Saleh said in press conference in his palace in Sana’a late Friday.
After the bloody Friday, President Saleh declared a state of emergency and curfew for 30 days in the capitals of all provinces.
Earlier Friday, clashes between Saleh’s supporters and protesters killed more than 30 and injured more than 100.
Armed men from roofs of the houses started to shoot at the protesters who started to destroy walls built to stop their expansion in the in the streets immediately after the Friday’s sermons in which tens of thousands of worshipers participated.
After President Saleh declared the emergency state and curfew, he said if the protesters can continue their sit-in but in non-residential places.
“If they want to continue, they can but they should find somewhere else far from the residential places to avoid more clashes ,” Saleh said a short press conference in which he declared the state of emergency throughout his country.
“There were no police in this incident at all, no single bullet was fired by them, but between residents of these places and armed people in these tents, it was clear there were armed elements in these tents who were firing.” Saleh said.
Over the last week, more than 15 walls were built by the local residents in the streets around the anti-regime sit-in place at the gate of Sana’a university including a huge one in the main street of Al Wahda between the old and new universities. Almost all of those walls were destroyed Friday by the protesters.
“We gave early instructions to protect the pro-and anti demonstrations and separate them, but this group at the university, unfortunately, was expanding every day, bothering the local residents in their natural life, and this is what happened today, some houses were stormed and there were reactions.” President Saleh said
President Saleh expressed regret for the deaths and injuries saying “the dead and injured” will be considered as martyrs of democracy and the State will take care of them and their families.
The American President in a statement sent by the US embassy in Sana’a to local media, condemned the violence against protesters and called Saleh to stick to his commitments for protection of the protesters.