SANAA, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Anti-government protests rattled Yemen's major cities on Wednesday after President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents reached another deadlock following the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)'s conciliation plan earlier this week.
At least 17 protesters were injured in clashes with police forces and government backers in Yemen's southern province of Ibb on Wednesday, witnesses said.
"The two sides clashed near Ibb University as protesters demanding an immediate end to the long time rule of Saleh defended themselves by throwing stones," a witness told Xinhua by phone, adding "at least four protesters were wounded by gunshots and were now in hospital."
About 80 km southeast of Ibb, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Al-Bayda province on Wednesday, whose provincial capital city witnessed a civil disobedience for the first time, according to a local official.
Meanwhile, protesters continued their rallies on Wednesday in southern provinces of Dhamar, Taiz, Hadramout and Aden, where at least two protesters were shot dead and dozens of others were wounded in clashes with police.
The ruling party's website said at least two policemen in Aden were injured by gunshots of protesters that belong to the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), adding that the police had arrested three people from the JMP in Taiz on Wednesday outside the headquarters of the ruling party.
Elsewhere, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the northern provinces of Saada and Al-Hodeida, as well as the capital city of Sanaa, where protesters on Wednesday marched in streets close to the presidential palace in downtown Sanaa, said a Xinhua reporter, adding no casualties were reported.
Earlier in the day, some 10,000 Yemeni officers and soldiers of the Republican Guard, Central Security and Air Forces in Sanaa, declared defection from the government to join anti-government protesters, an army official attended the event told Xinhua.
The new wave of defectors came hours after a gunfight took place between dissident soldiers and pro-government security forces, leaving at least six dead from both sides.
Yemen has been witnessing daily anti-government protests across major provinces since mid-February, which resulted in a political crisis that undermined security and stability situations in the country.
The president on March 28 said that he has lost control over five provinces, which were seized either by tribesmen or by al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after the government pulled the police out from some towns of major provinces under the pretext of avoiding friction with protesters.