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Yemenis and Algerians take to the streets

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  • Yemenis and Algerians take to the streets

    Anti-government protests broken up in Yemen and Algeria

    Anti-government rallies in the capitals of Algeria and Yemen, inspired by events in Egypt, have been broken up.

    Riot police in Algiers dispersed thousands of people who had defied a government ban to demand that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika step down.

    A similar march in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office was attacked by government supporters.

    Egypt's Hosni Mubarak stepped down on Friday after 18 days of mass protests.

    Both Yemen and Algeria, like other countries in the region, have recently witnessed demonstrations for greater freedoms and improved living standards.

    'Fear broken'
    Protesters in Algiers evaded thousands of police who were deployed in and around the capital city ahead of the demonstration.

    Public demonstrations are banned in Algeria under a state of emergency in place since 1992.

    The protesters gathered at Algiers' 1 May Square on Saturday morning.

    They chanted "Bouteflika out!" - in reference to the country's president, who came to power in 1999.

    The heavy police presence prevented them from marching to Martyrs Square, about 5km (3 miles) away. Rights groups said hundreds of people were arrested.

    By late in the afternoon only a few hundred people were left in 1 May Square.

    But the protest's organisers hailed it as a success.

    "We've broken the wall of fear, this is only a beginning," said Fodil Boumala, one of the founders of the National Co-ordination for Change and Democracy.

    "The Algerians have won back their capital."

    'Ali's turn'
    In Yemen, it was supporters of President Saleh, in power since 1978, who forced anti-government protesters from the centre of Sanaa.

    Several thousand protesters had gathered chanting: "After Mubarak, it's Ali's turn."

    Supporters of the president, armed with traditional Yemeni knives and sticks, turned up and forced the protesters, many of them students, to flee.

    It came after protesters celebrating the toppling of Egypt's President Mubarak on Friday night were driven out from Sanaa's Tahrir Square by armed men.

    BBC News - Anti-government protests broken up in Yemen and Algeria

    Dominos, is it?
    Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
    -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

  • #2
    Thousands rally in Yemen's capital

    Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in the Yemeni capital, calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

    Clashes broke out in Sanaa between groups supporting and opposing the government after men armed with knives and sticks forced around 300 anti-government protesters to end a rally, the Reuters news agency quoted witnesses as saying on Saturday.

    The Associated Press news agency reported that troops beat some anti-government protesters.

    Inspired by the Egyptian uprising which toppled Hosni Mubarak, protesters chanted "After Mubarak, it's Ali's turn" and "A Yemeni revolution after the Egyptian revolution."

    Eyeing protests elsewhere in the Middle East, Saleh, in power since 1978, last week promised to step down when his term ends in 2013. He has also promised not to pass power to his son.

    His move followed sporadic anti-government protests, and the opposition has yet to respond to his call to join a unity government. The opposition wants talks to take place under Western or Gulf Arab auspices.

    Yemeni authorities detained at least 10 people on Friday night after anti-government protesters in Sanaa, the capital, celebrated Mubarak's downfall, US-based Human Rights Watch said.

    The group said the celebrations turned to clashes when hundreds of men armed with knives, sticks, and assault rifles attacked the protesters as security forces stood by.

    Also on Friday, the separatist Southern Movement said police broke up hundreds of Yemenis celebrating in the streets of Aden, where police had been heavily deployed since morning to clamp down on planned separatist protests earlier in the day.

    Around 3,000 protesters across southern Yemen protested on Friday afternoon to demand secession, though most of the protests were quickly broken up by security forces.

    Unconfirmed reports said police had opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least one person.

    Pay raise discussed

    Reports said Saleh held a meeting with his senior defence, political and security officials on Friday night.

    They discussed plans to raise salaries for civil servants and the military - a second planned wage increase since last month, when Saleh planned a raise of about $47.

    Opposition leaders said Saleh's latest efforts could not quiet discontent.

    "This is a quick move to try and get rid of popular anger, but Yemenis are not mad about a lack of spending on wages," Mohamed al-Sabri, a leader of Yemen's opposition coalition, said.

    "This decision misreads the situation and is a simplification of what's happening in Yemen."

    About 40 per cent of Yemen's 23 million people live on less than $2 a day, while a third face chronic hunger.

    Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out on February 3 to protest against Saleh's rule. An equal number of pro-government demonstrators also took to the streets on the same day.

    Thousands rally in Yemen's capital - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
    Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
    -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry