Yemeni killings must stop

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has called on the Yemeni authorities to stop the bloodshed immediately and develop a genuine national dialogue to respond to the legitimate demands of the people for democracy and equity.

The TUC has also joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in urging the international community to promote national dialogue, prioritise aid for socio-economic purposes and support democracy. TUC Aid is appealing for funds to support an ITUC programme of solidarity with Arab trade unions.

More protests happened in Yemen on Saturday after 45 people were reportedly killed and 270 estimated to be injured in protests on Friday. Yemeni security forces opened fire on protesters at University Square, in the capital Sanaa.

The security forces were trying to prevent protesters from marching out of the square where they were gathered. Many protesters were shot in the head and neck; most of the injured were shot with live ammunition. Pro-regime thugs also opened fire on protesters from houses close to University Square.

Friday's attack came as tens of thousands gathered across the country, continuing to demand that president Ali Abdullah Saleh – the country's ruler of 32 years – step down. Anti-government demonstrations were also held in other cities including Taiz, Ibb, Hodeidah, Aden, and Amran following Muslim midday prayers on Friday.

Government forces have previously used live fire, rubber bullets, and tear gas on anti-regime rallies, in the government's increasingly violent crackdown on protests, which has already let to 70 deaths and hundreds of wounded.

While economic conditions for average Yemenis are dire and worsening, a generation of young activists, among them many young women, have been leading the civil society movement for democratic changes.

For more information on violations of trade union rights in Yemen, see the ITUC Annual Survey.

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