Tens of thousands of people, inspired by events in Tunisia, protest in Sanaa to demand President Saleh’s resignation.
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 recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, 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.
Saleh was re-elected in September 2006 for a seven-year mandate.
A draft amendment of the constitution, under discussion in parliament despite opposition protests, could allow him – if passed – to remain in office for life.
Saleh is also accused of wanting to pass the reins of power in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state to his eldest son Ahmed, who heads the elite Presidential Guard.
But in a televised address on Sunday, Saleh denied such accusations. “We are a republic. We reject bequeathing (the presidency)”, he said.
An activist who led rallies against the president in Yemen has been freed by authorities after her arrest sparked a wave of protests.