Blasts and gunfire rattle the streets of Sanaa and Aden, killing three people and wounding several others.
|Thousands gathered in the streets of Sanaa on Friday to protest against the president’s rule [Reuters]|
Protesters calling for an end to the rule of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah have gathered in their masses in Sanaa and other cities in the country.
An correspondent from the AFP news agency said the demonstrators in the capital were protected by dissident army forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, who pledged support for the protesters in March.
“The Yemeni people have decided they will not stop until they are free,” chanted the protesters gathered in Sitten Road on Friday. “Free people go on with this revolt, it is for good.”
The soldiers paraded in Sitten road before the weekly Muslim prayers began, declaring themselves as Yemen’s ‘victory brigades’, said AFP.
Witnesses said pro-Saleh demonstrators gathered in Sanaa’s Sabiine Square calling for the return of the veteran leader, who is currently recovering in Saudi Arabia from bomb blast wounds suffered in a June attack on his palace.
In Taiz, thousands of protesters marched towards the security headquarters building on Friday before forces fired warning shots to disperse them, witnesses said.
One person was killed and 13 were wounding, according to medics.
In the city’s Al-Raheda district, forces loyal to Saleh opened fire on demonstrators wounding one, AFP said.
Call to youth
On Thursday, the deputy leader of the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC), Sultan al Barakani, met with a gathering of pro-government women demonstrators, during which he called for dialogue with Yemen’s rebelling youth.
“I call on our young sons to come to us so we can begin dialogue with them and become partners with them in the country’s institutions,” said Barakani.
“We don’t give them promises ad then break them like the opposition Common Forum [alliance], which is stealing their revolution by giving them only five per cent [membership] of the illegitimate National Council,” an umbrella of anti-Saleh forces.
About 800 representatives of diverse opposition groups elected the 143-member National Council for the Forces of the Peaceful Revolution on August 17.
The council groups the parliamentary parties of the Common Forum, which includes the influential Islamist party al-Islah [reform], with the young protesters.
The GPC has repeatedly accused the Common Forum of plotting to “take power by force” by mobilising young protesters.
It held the opposition “responsible for the consequences” of any violence and called for a “serious and responsible dialogue”.