20 000 Gather on Yemeni 'Day of Rage'

World | February 3, 2011, Thursday // 13:46|  views

Yemeni protester pray to Allah to oust Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh during the anti-government demonstration in Sanaa, Yemen, 03 February 2011.. Photo by EPA/BGNES

More than 20 000 Yemeni citizens marched the streets of the capital Sanaa, as Thursday marked the "day of rage", scheduled against the country's veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The so-called "day of rage" was organized by civil society groups and opposition leaders who complain of mounting poverty among a growing, young population and frustration with a lack of political freedoms.

The protesters were not satisfied with Saleh's declaration on Wednesday that he will neither run for a new term, nor endorse his son for the post after 2013, as they want him out of office immediately. The mounting poverty among a growing, young population and the frustration with the lack of political freedoms have also enraged the people of Yemen.

Saleh has been in office for 32 years and was last re-elected in 2006. The protests in Yemen started last week, inspired by similar unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Sudan.

However, a a similar number of his supporters rallied in the Tahrir (Freedom) central square. There were initial fears that violence could break out on Thursday, but the protests appear to have gone peacefully, the BBC reports.

Earlier, Tunisia's President Ben Ali fled Tunisia for Saudi Arabia, following a month of popular protests fed by allegations of corruption.

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Tags: Yemen, protests, Ali Abdullah Saleh, sanaa


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