x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Yemeni protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh enter 11th day

Leaders of opposition coalition call on their supporters to join the anti-government protesters.

Protesters clash with government supporters in Sana'a at the weekend.
Protesters clash with government supporters in Sana'a at the weekend.

SANA'A // Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered yesterday in front of the Sana'a University gate for 11th consecutive day, demanding that the Yemen president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, step down.

The protesters, mostly students and civic activists, chanted: "After Mubarak, Ali", in reference to the former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down this month.

Dozens of supporters of the ruling General People's Congress gathered across the street from the campus and chanted pro-Saleh slogans. The police set up a cordon to separate the two groups.

To try to placate the protesters, Mr Saleh offered yesterday to oversee a dialogue between his ruling party and the opposition.

Mr Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, said this month that he would not seek to extend his term beyond 2013 but his promise has failed to satisfy the demonstrators.

"We are ready to sit the negotiating table and meet their demands if they are legitimate," Mr Saleh said yesterday while addressing a gathering of community leaders.

He said the dialogue could be under his auspice as president, not as chairman of the ruling party.

Mr Saleh has blamed the unrest on foreign elements.

The Joint Meeting Parties, an opposition coalition of six parties, including the Islamist Islah party, the largest party in the country, called yesterday on their supporters to join the anti-government protesters.

malqadhi@thenational.ae