In the first major opposition protests ever seen in Yemen’s capital, some 2,500 rallied at the University of Sanaa Jan. 22, demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for 32 years. In a daring act in authoritarian and impoverished Yemen, protesters mockingly compared Saleh to Tunisia’s ousted president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, chanting: “Get out, get out, Ali! Join your friend, Ben Ali!” Grievances include proposed constitutional changes that would allow Saleh to rule for lif. Police responded with tear gas, and some 30 protesters were detained.
Larger protests were were reported in the southern port city of Aden, where calls for Saleh to step down were voiced along with calls for southern secession. Police fired on demonstrators, injuring four, and detained 22 others in hours of street-fighting. (SMH from AP, AFP, Jan. 24; AlJazeera, Albuquerque Express, Jan. 23)