Two anti-govt protesters killed in Yemen-witnesses

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Tuesday, 22 February 2011 21:26 GMT

* Two protesters shot dead by Saleh loyalists -witnesses

* Demonstrators demand end of 32-year rule of president

SANAA, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Two anti-government protesters were killed and more than 10 were wounded by gunfire during clashes with supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on Tuesday, witnesses said.

A government official told Reuters that at least one protester was shot dead and several hurt at the demonstration near Sanaa University.

Witnesses said armed Saleh loyalists opened fire on demonstrators, before police intervened to separate the two sides by shooting into the air.

On Monday, a Yemeni teenager was killed in a clash with soldiers in the southern port of Aden, bringing to 12 the toll since Thursday in nationwide unrest.

Protesters, inspired by the overthrow of veteran leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, have demonstrated in the capital Sanaa to demand an end to Saleh's 32-year rule and thousands have held sit-ins in several Yemeni cities.

Saleh, a U.S. ally against a Yemen-based al Qaeda wing that has launched attacks at home and abroad, is struggling to end month-old protests flaring across his impoverished country.

Yemen also faces a southern separatist revolt and is trying to maintain a shaky truce with northern Shi'ite Muslim rebels.

(Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; Writing by Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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