Yemenis hold rival protests

AFP , Friday 5 Aug 2011

Tens of thousands of opponents and supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh hold rival rallies following the Friday prayers

Demonstrations in Yemen (Photo:Reuters)

Tens of thousands of opponents and supporters of embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh held rival rallies following prayers on the first Friday of the Muslim fasting Ramadan month.

"Our revolution is popular, and we will continue peacefully" chanted large masses of anti-regime protesters who gathered in Sanaa's Sittin Street for a rally entitled "peaceful until victory," an AFP correspondent reported.

"The tyrant will go, and the people will stay," chanted the crowds that organisers put at around 250,000.

Large anti-regime protests were also held across Yemen.

In Taez, Yemen's second largest city, a mass protest was held in Freedom Square, calling for an end of Saleh's regime and insisting on following peaceful ways to achieve the goals of their protest.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of his loyalists rallied at Sanaa's Sabeen Square renewing allegiance to Saleh in a rally titled the "Friday of compassion."

"The people want Ali Abdullah Saleh" they chanted as many carried posters of him and Saudi monarch Abdullah as a sign of gratitude for providing medical care for Saleh.

The veteran leader has been in a Saudi hospital since June after he was wounded in a bomb attack on his Sanaa compound, but he has refused to pass the reins of power to his deputy.

Protests erupted in the south Arabian Peninsula nation in January demanding the ouster of Saleh, who has been in office since 1978.

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