x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Protesters in Yemen clash with government supporters

As opponents of the government urged the president to quit, dozens of his supporters shouted: 'With our souls and blood, we sacrifice ourselves for Saleh.'

SANA'A // Dozens of anti-government protesters yesterday clashed with government supporters as they were calling for the abdication of the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years.

The protesters, including journalists and activists, marched to the Egyptian Embassy to express solidarity with Egyptian demonstrators as they shouted: "The people want to change the president" and "Long live Egypt."

"Ali, leave leave" and "Tunisia left, Egypt after it and Yemen in the coming future," the protesters shouted.

Police created a human shield to prevent the demonstrators from getting close to the Egyptian Embassy.

While the protesters urged Mr Saleh to quit, dozens of government supporters shouted: "With our souls and blood, we sacrifice ourselves for [Saleh]."

The anti-government protesters were attacked by government supporters and plainclothes police. Some of the supporters were seen waving the traditional Yemeni dagger, known as Jambiya, during confrontations.

"They asked me to cheer the president and when I refused to chant their pro-Saleh slogans, they beat me up. I escaped into an alley but it was closed," Mahdi Hashim said.

Tawakul Karaman, who has been leading anti-government protests for the past two weeks at Sana'a University and was detained for two days, said a member of the security forces tried to attack her with a dagger and a shoe, but was thwarted by other protesters.

Ms Karaman said she would continue protests until the fall of Mr Saleh's regime.

"Whatever harassment and intimidation they exercise against us, they will not scare us by rascals; we will continue to protest until the fall of the regime," Ms Karaman said.