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Supporters of Yemen's President Rally; Protests Continue

Army soldiers watch as women march during a demonstration to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern city of Taiz Apr 14 2011

Yemen's state-run media say thousands of people have rallied in support of the government in the capital, Sana'a.

The SABA news agency reports participants Thursday chanted pro-government slogans and waved the Yemeni flag, along with photos of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Separately, news reports quote opposition leader Mohammed al-Mutawakkil as saying anti-government activists have rejected an offer to join Gulf-mediated talks on the country's crises.

The reports say the opposition is instead calling for President Saleh to resign within two weeks.

A proposal presented by the Gulf Cooperation Council earlier this month called for President Saleh to transfer powers to a vice president. Opposition leaders turned down the plan, saying it protected the president and his family from prosecution and did not specify when he would leave office.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has urged representatives on both sides of Yemen's political conflict to stop using child soldiers.

A Thursday report from the international rights group says young soldiers who had been recruited by the Yemeni army are now being used by a breakaway military unit that is supporting the opposition.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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