Thousands march to oust Yemen president
Published 02/04/2011 | 05:00
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Yemen yesterday in the largest protest yet as the 32-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh appeared on the brink of collapse.
Many mosques in the capital shut down -- a move unprecedented for the Muslim day of prayer -- as worshippers and clerics streamed to the square outside Sanaa University.
A past master at organising public displays of devotion, Mr Saleh succeeded in achieving a turnout of loyalists that matched the size of the protests against him in the capital, Sanaa, but the president remains severely weakened by mass defections to the opposition from senior politicians and army officers.
Meanwhile, Syrian protesters braved renewed bloodshed and an unprecedented security presence across the country yesterday as they marched to denounce their increasingly intransigent president.
Opposition activists claimed that as many as 25 people were killed as violence flared across the country, despite President Bashar al-Assad's attempts to suffocate the widening uprising against his 11-year rule.
But the campaign of intimidation, designed to terrify people into remaining at home, was only partially successful.
Witnesses said between four and 15 people in Douma, 10 miles north of the capital Damascus, were killed while another 10 were said to have been killed during a march between the villages of Erikel and Sanamayn.
In Damascus, security forces attacked a mosque where 600 protesters had taken shelter, beating those inside with electric cattle prods and then confiscating their mobile phones to ensure video footage would be deleted. (© Daily Telegraph, London)