News / Middle East

Yemen Opposition Holds 'Friday of Patience' Rallies

A young boy wears a straw hat with the Arabic word,
A young boy wears a straw hat with the Arabic word, "Leave," during an anti-government demonstration after Friday prayers in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, July 29, 2011

Opposition protest organizers in Yemen urged their supporters to persist during a rally in Sana'a on Friday as they continued to press for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's resignation.

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators turned out in the capital after midday prayers while Saleh's supporters held a separate rally in the city. Opponents have for six months been pressing for Saleh to leave office.

The president remains in Saudi Arabia where he is recovering from injuries sustained in a June attack on his presidential compound.

On Thursday, heavy clashes between Yemeni forces and armed tribesmen who attacked a Republican Guard training facility killed dozens of people 40 kilometers north of the capital, Sana'a.

Yemeni officials said the elite unit, backed by government warplanes, shelled and bombed hundreds of tribesmen who had seized part of the al-Samaa' military camp.

The Defense Ministry said loyalist troops suffered "heavy losses" and the attackers sought to gain control of Sana'a International Airport. Tribal sources confirmed casualties, saying "dozens were killed and wounded" from both sides.

The government accused the Islamist opposition Al-Islah party militia of involvement in the raid on the training camp.

Separately, at least one soldier was killed and another wounded in the southern city of Taiz near a square where anti-government protesters have been camped for months.

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

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