Dozens of protesters calling for the ouster of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed on Jan. 29 with the regime’s supporters in Sana’a, the capital. Plainclothes police also apparently attacked the demonstrators, who marched to the Egyptian embassy in solidarity with the protesters in Cairo, chanting “Ali, leave leave.”
No casualties were reported, but a woman protest leader, Tawakel Karman, said that a member of the security forces in civilian clothes tried to attack her with a dagger. She said the assailant was held back by other protestors.
“We will continue until the fall of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime,” said Karman, who was granted parole last week after being held over her role in earlier protests. Karman, a journalist who is also a senior member of the opposition al-Islah (Reform) party, called for Feb. 3 to be a “Day of Rage” throughout Yemen.
Protests have been taking place on a nearly daily basis in Sana’a for the past two weeks, calling for an end to Saleh’s rule, which began in 1978. Saleh was re-elected in September 2006 for a seven-year mandate. A draft amendment to the constitution, under discussion in parliament despite opposition protests, could allow him to remain in office for life. (Ma’an News Agency, Jan. 30)