President announces state of emergency, ban on carrying arms
SANA’A, March 18 (Saba)- President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced on Friday decision of the National Defense Council to impose a state of emergency across the republic, in addition to banning carrying arms in the capital Sana’a and the capitals of other governorates.
In a press conference held today, Saleh expressed his sorrow for the deaths and injuries took place today among citizens in Sana’a.
"There was a communication between Yemen and Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries for mediation to heal the rip among the political parties in Yemen," Saleh said, affirming that what happened on Friday caused failure to these moves to bridge the gap and avoid bloodshed.
He renewed the early announced directives for all security systems to protect pro and anti- government sit-ins.
President expressed displeasure with the spread of anti-government protests in residential areas which annoys people living in such neighborhoods, pointing out that what happened was a result of confrontations between the locals and the protesters.
He affirmed that police did not fire any bullet as they are anti-riots police and do not carry any weapons.
Saleh said that if the protesters want to continue their sit-in, they should find other areas away from residential areas to avoid confrontations with the locals.
"A committee from neutral bodies has been formed to investigate incidents in Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, Abyan, Mareb, Jawf and Hudeidah to reveal reasons behind the incidents and to know who is responsible either the government or opposition," he said.
He considered those who were killed and injured as martyrs of democracy, affirming that the government will take care of their families.
In the news conference, Interior Minister Mutahar al Masri highlighted the circumstances of the incidents saying that preliminary information had revealed that the sit-inners outside Sana’a University have been attempting to break in houses nearby the university forcing the owners to form popular committees to protect their properties and homes.
"After the Friday inciting sermon outside the university, the sit-inners headed to the inhabited areas near the university destroying the barriers built by the people to prevent the sit-inners from pitching more tents and violent clashes took place then," said al Masri.
Armed people joined the sit-inners a week ago, he said, pointing out that the riot police did not have weapons to take control of the situation.
The riot police had nothing to do with the deadly violence and to the committees formed there by the people annoyed by the sit-inners, he said, urging media to clarify this fact to the public opinion.
Regarding the number of the victims, he said there were 25 dead and about 102 others injured from both sides, adding that some houses were burned and looted and that some of the owners of the houses were arrested and a man was thrown from over his house.