Yemen: Police kill four and two die in grenade blast

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A grenade killed two anti-government protesters and injured dozens more in Yemen yesterday as authorities cracked down on dissent.

Passengers of a car bearing government plates lobbed a grenade into a crowd of protesters in Taiz, several hundred kilometres south of the capital Sana'a, a local official told AFP.

Dissenters have ramped up protests in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, even as President Ali Abdullah Saleh has promised to consider political reform and stand down at elections due in 2013. Mr Saleh, who has ruled the country for 32 years, has appealed to his tribal base for support, but was recently dealt a blow when a chief from his own tribe threatened to join the protests.

Police shot dead four protesters in Aden, Yemen's southern port city, which has been the scene of particularly violent riots, with several killed there in recent days.

In Sana'a, regime loyalists battled with opponents of the government in the sixth day of protests, firing tear gas and firing gunshots to disperse the crowds. Thousands of Yemenis, mostly students, had gathered to march after Friday prayers. The students have attempted every day in the past week to march on the presidential palace but have been blocked by stone-throwing supporters of Mr Saleh.