At least 11 people were killed Wednesday in clashes between security forces and protesters in Yemen where anti-government activists rallied against a political transition agreement.
Yemeni medical sources say eight of the deaths were in the capital, Sana’a. In the country’s south, in Aden, two Yemeni soldiers and a protester were killed in a gunfight as security forces tried to break up a demonstration.
Witnesses say the security forces confronted protesters who had set up a roadblock to enforce a general strike demanding the immediate removal of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Doctors say three other protesters were wounded during the clashes in Aden.
Protesters also took to the streets in other cities in spite of a deal brokered by neighboring Gulf Arab states that calls for Mr. Saleh to step down from power.
Some protesters say they oppose the initiative because it gives the Yemeni president a month-long window to resign and because it grants Mr. Saleh and his family immunity for prosecution.
However, Yemen’s main opposition coalition agreed to the plan, which would have the president hand over power to a deputy and resign within 30 days of signing the agreement. It would establish a unity government that would include opposition members.
Gulf Cooperation Council officials say the agreement may be finalized during a Sunday meeting in Saudi Arabia.
In another development, two Yemeni soldiers were shot dead in the southern province of Abyan Wednesday, in an attack blamed on al-Qaida militants. Officials say at least three other soldiers were wounded when gunmen opened fire on them in the city of Zinjibar.