Tens of thousands protest in Yemen, clashes in south

March 2, 2011 - 0:0

SANAA/ADEN – Tens of thousands of protesters flooded Yemen's streets on Tuesday in a fresh “Day of Rage,” demanding an end to the president's three-decade rule.

In the capital Sanaa, protesters chanted “With blood and soul we support you, Aden” -- the port city where most of the 24 protesters killed in the past two weeks of protests have died, Reuters reported.
Some protesters made “V” for victory signs while others wore white headbands with “Leave” written in red.
Tens of thousands more also marched through the streets of Ibb and Taiz, south of Sanaa.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a U.S. ally, has failed to quell two months of protests in a country of 23 million where 40 percent live on less than $2 a day and a third are undernourished.
“Victory is coming and it is near,” Hassan Zaid, an opposition leader, shouted to the protesters gathered in Sanaa, where protesters have been camping out for two weeks.
“We have one goal and one demand, and that is the quick end of the regime.”
Protesters are angry at widespread corruption, as Yemeni university graduates struggle to get jobs without connections, and youth unemployment is high. Northern rebels and southern separatists say they are denied resources and a say in politics.
As oil and water resources dry up, the 68-year-old leader is less able to pay off allies to keep the peace.
Opposition rejects call for unity government
Yemen's main opposition bloc on Monday rejected President Saleh's call to form a unity government to rule until elections to replace him, saying its goal is simply “the fall of the regime.”
“The opposition will not enter a unity government with the ruling party and will stand with the demands of the people,” said Mohammed Al-Qubati, the spokesman for the Joint Meeting Parties, CNN reported.
Saleh is under increasing pressure to resign from youth groups, opposition leaders and even members of his own powerful tribal group, all of whom have called for demonstrations Tuesday against his continued rule.
Saleh met Monday with Muslim scholars and members of opposition groups to discuss the possibility of forming a coalition government that would rule until elections to replace him, according to two Yemeni government sources.
But the sources said no agreement had been reached and none was expected on Monday.
On Saturday, leaders of two prominent tribal groups, the Hashid-dominated National Solidarity Council and the Baqil tribe, said they would send members to join the protests calling for Saleh's resignation. Saleh is a member of the Hashid tribe.
A day later, the Joint Meeting Parties called for demonstrations on Tuesday. That's the first time it has called on its supporters to take to the streets since February 3, which had been branded a day of rage -- a common term for the mass protests that have spread across the Middle East and parts of Africa.
Photo: Yemeni protesters called for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital Sanaa on Monday, February 28. (Getty Images)