Anti-Saleh Yemenis slam transition deal

Anti-Saleh Yemenis slam transition deal

Tens of thousands flooded a five-km stretch of Sanaa’s main Siteen Street to mark a “Friday of Loyalty to the Martyrs”— at least 142 protesters have been killed during three months of anti-Saleh protests across Yemen.  “We will continue our revolution forcefully and we will not back down even if we have to offer a million martyrs,” a cleric shouted to crowds of protesters gathered for Friday prayers, as they released balloons inscribed “Leave!” in  the air.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters turned out in other cities, including Ibb, Hudaida and Baydah.

Equally large pro-Saleh crowds also gathered in the capital’s Sabiyeen Street and Tahrir Square. A man with a megaphone led cries of “The people want Ali Abdullah Saleh”.

The United States and nearby top oil producer Saudi Arabia want the Yemen standoff resolved to avert chaos that could enable a Yemen-based wing of al-Qaeda to operate more freely.

The fate of the deal to ease Saleh out of power could hang on how he handles the latest protests, with tension still high after the killing of 12 demonstrators in Sanaa on Wednesday.

Opponents of the agreement, due to be signed in Riyadh on Sunday, say the president cannot be trusted to honour it.

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