Sanaa: Demonstrators on Friday called for the
United Nations to intervene to put Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on trial in the wake of a crackdown on
anti-regime protests that has cost hundreds of lives.
"We want the world to pass a resolution which defends
the blood of the revolutionaries," protesters chanted at a
huge gathering near "Change Square" in central Sanaa that has
become the epicentre of a campaign to oust Saleh.
The demonstrators, who protest organisers said
numbered in the hundreds of thousands, called for the veteran
leader to go on trial.
"There will be no immunity... Saleh and his cronies
must face trial," chanted the protesters, gathered after
weekly Muslim prayers as on every Friday since the outbreak of
their campaign in late January.
Troops of dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who
switched sides in March, were out in force to protect the
At a rival protest, tens of thousands of pro-regime
demonstrators gathered near the presidential palace in
southern Sanaa swearing to stand by Saleh who has been in
power for the past three decades.
"The people want Ali Abdullah Saleh... With our souls,
with our blood, we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Saleh,"
they chanted, in images broadcast by state television.
Protesters demanding the ouster of Saleh are hoping to
see decisive action by the UN Security Council.
According to a letter from Yemen`s youth movement to
the United Nations earlier this month, at least 861 people
have been killed and 25,000 wounded since mass protests
erupted across the country.
The government, for its part, has urged the Security
Council to avoid a resolution targeting the embattled
president, calling on it instead to back a political solution.
Organisers of the youth protests have called for a
march on Saturday from Change Square to Al-Zubeiri Street
which marks the demarcation line between the rival camps.
In south Yemen, which on Friday marked the 48th
anniversary of independence before its unification with the
north in May 1990, activists at rallies in several towns
called for the restoration of the region`s independence.