Riot police opened fire into a crowd of retired army officers Saturday, killing four people, activists and local medical officials said. According to the AP, hundreds of protesters gathered in the southern city of Radfan, about 185 miles south of the capital Sana'a, to prepare for a protest scheduled for Sunday to mark the 44th anniversary of southern Yemen's uprising against British occupation.
The protesters were largely former troops who fought on the side of the breakaway south in a 1994 civil war.
The protesters were gathering to plan their own rally, which had been banned by the government on the grounds it would challenge an official event, according to an opposition leader. The Yemeni government deployed more than 1,000 police and members of the security forces and sealed off several roads heading to Radfan, in an attempt to prevent more people from joining the rally.
A scuffle broke out between some protesters and riot police, who then opened fire and killed four people and wounded at least eight, according to the opposition leader. The casualty figure was confirmed by a local hospital official.