Mass funeral in Yemen for 50 killed in violence

By AHMED AL-HAJ | June 3, 2011 | 7:13 AM EDT

Fire and smokes erupt during clashes between tribesmen loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, and Yemeni security forces in Sanaa, Yemen, late Thursday, June 2, 2011. Thousands of tribesmen threatened Thursday to descend on Yemen's capital to join the battle against forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh as the country slid deeper into an all-out fight for power. Government forces in Sanaa unleashed some of the heaviest shelling yet against their tribal rivals in a dramatic escalation of the conflict. (AP Photo/Mohammed Hamoud)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Tens of thousands of Yemenis are holding a mass funeral for 50 people killed in recent violence in the capital by forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Young men carried the bodies in a mass procession as Yemeni protesters gathered in a main street in the capital ahead of Friday prayers.

Activists say the dead were killed in fighting between Saleh forces and tribesmen or were shot during attacks on protesters in Sanaa in the last few days.

Shelling rocked a southern Sanaa neighborhood soon after Friday prayers. Witnesses said government forces were targeting the home of a tribal chief in the area, previously off limits.

Overnight shelling was described as the heaviest in a two-week showdown between government forces and their tribal rivals.