Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yemen protests rivals urge president to resign or return

Tens of thousands of Yemenis went out on Friday the streets of the capital in two parallel protests. While calling for the resignation of a wounded leader of the country, another wanted to return home. The rival demonstrations over the future of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was forced to leave Yemen for surgery after an attack on his palace last week, revealing the instability of a country that Western nations and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia fear could fall into chaos and give Al Qaeda a greater regional position.

Thousands of protesters filled the streets Siteen Saleh in the heart of Sana'a, demanding that Saleh officially cede power to his deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the interim president. Near the presidential palace, a smaller group of supporters gathered Saleh after Friday prayers to urge a return to the country torn apart after months of demonstrations demanding the resignation of President and repression to crush dissent.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for three decades, has not appeared in public since he flew to Saudi Arabia to undergo surgery after last Friday's bombing his palace. U.S. officials have said Saleh, 69, was burned on 40 percent of his body, wounds that, depending on their depth, could be lethal and probably affect their ability to govern.

But after months of factional violence and demonstrations for democracy, Saleh has resisted Western and Arab pressure to resign and the government has denied press claims about the condition of Saleh, and says that preparations for back underway. Opposition politicians said their biggest concern was whether Saleh would cede power, regardless of whether you return or not.

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