Yemen: Protesting police storm ministry; 15 killed

AP News
Posted: Jul 31, 2012 2:18 PM
Yemen: Protesting police storm ministry; 15 killed

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Policemen loyal to Yemen's ousted leader Ali Abdullah Saleh stormed the country's Interior Ministry on Tuesday, setting off clashes that left at least 15 people killed and 43 wounded, according to the country's security operations room.

The incident underlined the volatility of the situation in Yemen nearly six months after Saleh stepped down following a popular uprising. It points to the enduring ability of his supporters, many of whom still hold key positions, to cause unrest in one of the Arab world's poorest nations.

A security official said the attack followed a demonstration outside the ministry in the capital Sanaa by policemen loyal to the former president. The policemen were later joined by pro-Saleh tribesmen, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The demonstrators accused the current government of corruption.

Yemen's security operations room said in a report that at least 15 people were killed in the clashes, according to figures from the police and military hospitals.

The security official said Saleh's nephew Yahia Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, who commands the police's Central Security forces, sent additional policemen to participate in the demonstration shortly before the ministry was stormed. The ministry is in charge of the police force and its building is located on the road to the airport.

The policemen loyal to Saleh remained in control of the building hours after they stormed it. They also controlled nearby streets, said the official.

Witnesses said the headquarters of the ministry was looted, with people walking out with computer sets and furniture with little interference from security in the area.