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In brief: Arab regimes launch clampdown

YEMEN: The country was rocked by a ninth consecutive day of violence as street battles broke out across the capital and live ammunition was used against students calling for an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule. A group of 1,000 protesters was attacked outside Sana'a University by pro-Saleh tribesmen armed with batons, rocks and guns.

The demonstrations came a day after four Yemenis had been killed in the southern port city of Aden.

The 'Yemen Post' reported that people were being prevented from entering or leaving the city. Yesterday, at a conference, President Saleh accused foreign countries of "plotting against Yemen and its security and stability".

He said: "Those who want power should seek it through the ballot boxes or else the Yemeni people will face destruction."

ALGERIA: Police surrounded a group of 500 protesters who were trying to march through the capital yesterday, preventing them from demonstrating against the regime.

Large numbers of police were on the streets. Armoured vehicles were dotted around the capital hours before the demonstration was due to begin.

The government has vowed to prevent any demonstrations, for fear of succumbing to the kind of revolts that have shaken Tunisia and Egypt.

TUNISIA: Interim president Fouad Mebazza has signed a general amnesty for political prisoners to help smooth the way to elections this year. Human-rights groups estimate Tunisia has about 1,000 political prisoners, following Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23 years in power, during which he cracked down on Islamists and dissenters.

Tunisia's Islamists have been protesting, but 15,000 anti-Islamist demonstrators clogged the the capital Tunis yesterday. On Friday, the government said extremists had killed a priest.

Sunday Independent