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Protesters in Yemen defiant despite clashes

Thousands marching in a bid to overthrow Yemen's US-supported president clashed with police and government supporters yesterday in a fifth straight day of Egypt-inspired protests.

Police tried to disperse the demonstrators using tear gas, batons and stun guns, but about 3,000 defiantly continued their march from the capital Sanaa's university toward the city centre, chanting slogans against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, including "Down with the president's thugs!"

  • Protest marches in Jordan will no longer need government permission, its interior minister said yesterday, bowing to growing pressure to allow wider freedoms.

In street protests in the past five weeks, Muslim opposition groups, their leftist allies and independent rights activists demanded that the government remove restrictions on free speech and assembly.

  • Algeria's foreign minister yesterday dismissed the protest marches in his country as actions by a small minority -- and not the start of popular uprisings like those in Tunisia or in Egypt that overthrew long-standing Arab rulers.

Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci told Europe 1 radio that Saturday's protest march in the capital Algiers was the work of a minority and that one set for this weekend likely "won't do any better".

  • Morocco said Algeria and the Polisario Front, which wants independence for Western Sahara, may use political upheavals sweeping some countries in the Arab world to stir unrest in the disputed desert region.

Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri also urged Algeria, Morocco's neighbour and the Polisario Front's biggest supporter, to turn the page on past disputes and focus on greater economic co-operation.

Irish Independent