Tens of thousands of people in Yemen have taken to the streets in the country’s capital, calling for an end to the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president.
Inspired by the recent revolution in Tunisia, opposition members and youth activists are rallying at four different locations in Sanaa on Thursday, chanting for Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, to step down.
“Enough being in power for [over] 30 years,” protesters shouted during the demonstrations.
They also referred to the ouster of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, saying he was “gone in just [over] 20 years”.
“No to extending [presidential tenure]. No to bequeathing [the presidency],” they chanted.
Meanwhile Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress, meanwhile, held counter marches attended by thousands of the government’s backers.
“No to toppling democracy and the constitution,” the president’s supporters said in their banners.
Yemen, an impoverished nation, is grappling with al-Qaeda, a northern rebellion and a secessionist movement in the south.
Saleh has tried to defuse simmering tensions by denying opponents’ claims he plans to install his son as his successor and by raising salaries for the army.