News / Middle East

More Protests Across Yemen

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, March 11, 2011
Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, March 11, 2011

There was more political unrest in Yemen Friday, with clashes between government supporters and protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Tens of thousands of anti-government activists gathered in the capital Sana'a, in what was described as one of the biggest demonstrations of its kind to date.

The Reuters  news agency said government supporters were also present, but in far smaller numbers.  It said some skirmishes broke out between the two groups.

In the southern port of Aden, witnesses said police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse protesters trying to tear down pictures of Mr. Saleh.  There were also reports of protests in other parts of Yemen.  

Protesters say they are frustrated by rampant corruption and soaring unemployment.  Yemen also faces other problems, with water wells drying out and oil resources diminishing.

The president pledged Thursday to hold a referendum on a new constitution to foster democratic reforms.  The opposition rejected the offer, saying it is too little too late.

Mr. Saleh has been in power since a military coup in 1978 and has said he will not step down until 2013, when his term is due to end.

The protesters in Yemen took inspiration from the demonstrations in Egypt, which drove longtime leader Hosni Mubarak from power last month.

According to Amnesty International, some 30 people have been killed in Yemen since the protests began.   

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

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