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Women Denounce Yemeni President's Comments


Women march during a demonstration demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern city of Taiz, April 16, 2011

Women march during a demonstration demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern city of Taiz, April 16, 2011

Thousands of people, mostly women, rallied in Sana'a and other Yemeni cities on Saturday to protest the president's comments about women.

On Friday, President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for an end to the mingling of men and women in anti-government protests. He said mixing went against Islamic law.

He made the comments during a speech to supporters in Sana'a, where he also defended his leadership. He told supporters that their presence indicated his "constitutional legitimacy."

As he spoke, a rival demonstration took place elsewhere in the capital.

Clashes between Yemeni security forces and opposition activists have killed more than 100 people since the protests began in late January.

Protesters have said they are frustrated by problems that include rampant corruption and soaring unemployment. Even before the anti-government unrest erupted, Yemen was battling a separatist rebellion in the south and al-Qaida elements in the country.

On Thursday, a group of religious and tribal leaders announced they had sided with protesters calling for President Saleh's resignation. They released a statement urging the president to respond to the peaceful demands and to step down quickly.

Opposition leaders have insisted that Mr. Saleh resign within two weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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