Friday, April 1, 2011

In Yemen, rival demonstrations draw thousands; minor scuffles

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Brief scuffles broke out in Yemen's capital on Friday at the end of a day of huge pro- and anti-government rallies, witnesses said.

Dueling Yemen Protests
At least four people were injured in Sanaa after tens of thousands of people turned out for the second straight week of dueling demonstrations.

The turnout illustrates the grinding tensions on the streets of the impoverished country, facing regular protests from people citing government corruption, a lack of political freedom, and high unemployment.

Pro-government backers gathered to support President Ali Abdullah Saleh and vowed to fight for him under all circumstances.

Chants of "People want Ali Abdullah Saleh" and "With our soul and blood, we support you, Saleh," rang out at the pro-government rally.

Saleh addressed his supporters briefly, thanking them for turning out and promising them he won't let them down.

"Rule in Yemen cannot be changed by force. Yemen is a democratic nation and means for change are available democratically," he said.

"I will sacrifice my blood and everything valuable to be for the sake of my great people."