As Marchers Rally In Yemeni Streets, Soldiers Slain In Countryside

Sanaa, Yemen -- Violence rocked embattled Yemen on Saturday as suspected militants killed government soldiers for the second day in a row and security forces wounded around three dozen anti-government protesters.

The unrest comes as the regime is coping with two conflicts -- militant activity across the country and an anti-government movement demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Six soldiers were killed and five others were injured in the Baitha provincial town of Rada'a, the Interior Ministry said.

It is blaming al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for an attack on security forces.

"The terrorist group attacked them in large numbers. They were at least 20 terrorists and well armed," Amer Shaibari, a security official in Rada'a said.

On Friday, at least five soldiers were killed in Marib province by the al Qaeda group, a force that Yemen and the United States have been fighting for years.

Yemen's government is unpopular among many citizens, and it has been facing a lot of street opposition in recent months.

More than half a million protesters marched the streets of Taiz on Saturday demanding the ouster of the Saleh regime., ,

At least 35 protesters were injured when the republican guard and the central security opened fire at a protest in downtown Taiz province, medical staff said. Eyewitnesses said they saw at least 20 snipers taking shots at marchers from rooftops.

At least 10 of the injured were shot by security forces and more than 25 beaten by batons and rocks, said Yasser Nusairi of the medical staff in Taiz., , One of those injured was shot in the head and is in critical condition.

"It's the same procedure every time with the government. We get attacked only because we march peacefully," said Saleh Ariki, a protester beaten with a baton in Taiz by security forces. "Marchers were attacked three times today already.", ,

Along with Taiz, protesters also took to the streets in several provinces, including Sanaa, Ibb, Aden, Hodieda, Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Shabwa, and Hadramout. Except for Taiz, all of these events were peaceful.

One activist, Labib Abdullah said protesters will march to Saleh's palace on Tuesday and demand he step down.
AP