Four Yemenis, including a policeman, were killed and 13 others wounded in two days of clashes between police and anti-government protesters in southern Yemen, medics and witnesses said.
The deaths bring the toll of Yemenis killed since demonstrations broke out in the south in late April to sixteen, including five security force members. The Sanaa government has blamed the protests on southern separatists.
A policeman and a demonstrator were killed on Sunday in clashes in the village of Labouss, in the southern province of Lahij, while another demonstrator was wounded in similar confrontations in the neighbouring village of al-Eind, witnesses said.
Protesters chanted slogans against the government, which is controlled by northerners, and carried posters of Ali Nasser Mohammed, the former president of South Yemen, which was united with North Yemen in 1990.
Earlier on Sunday, one Yemeni protestor was killed and five others wounded in clashes when police used firearms to break up a demonstration in Dali, north of the southern port of Aden, capital of former South Yemen.
“One protester, Tufiq al-Jaadi, died while being operated on in hospital. He was hit by a bullet,” medical sources said after the incident.
Witnesses said police exchanged fire with demonstrators who carried banners with slogans against the government.
Violence broke out again at the hospital as police tried to arrest a wounded demonstrator, resulting in injuries to a policeman and a demonstrator, witnesses said.
The demonstration in Dali was on its second day.
On Saturday, one protester was killed and five others wounded as demonstrators clashed with police in the village of Ashehir, in the southeastern region of Hadramut, witnesses said.
The disturbance was triggered by demands to release locals arrested over earlier protests against the government, they said.
Socialists who formerly ruled the south led a secession bid in 1994 that sparked a two-month civil war before the uprising was crushed by northern forces loyal to veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The president has warned against the risks of Yemen breaking up into “several entities” amid trouble in the south over the past year, sparked by social demands and charges of negligence in the impoverished state.