Yemenis stage new protests to oust their president

Yemenis stage new protests to oust their president

Yemeni police clashed today with anti-government protesters staging a third-consecutive day of demonstrations calling for political reforms and the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Several thousand protesters, many of them university students, tried to reach the central square in the capital of Sanaa, but were pushed back by police using truncheons. The ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after an 18-day uprising has emboldened protesters in Yemen and raised questions about the country's stability and other
Western-allied governments in the region. Saleh has been in power for three decades and has tried to defuse the unrest by promising not to run again. His term ends in 2013.

Witnesses said several protesters were injured and 23 were detained by police in today's clashes. They said plainclothes policemen holding daggers and sticks also joined the security forces in driving the protesters back. The protesters, chanting "people want to overthrow the regime", tried to reach Hada square in downtown.

Demonstrators tried to reach Tahrir Square, or Liberation Square, yesterday, but security forces pushed them back. Buses ferried ruling party members, equipped with tents, food and water, to the city's main square to help prevent attempts by protesters to gather there.

On Sunday, local officials also provided Qat, leaves Yemenis chew as a stimulant, to plainclothes police and government supporters who spent their overnight in the square, witnesses said.

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