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Tens of thousands turn out for rival rallies in Yemen

February 4, 2011 Comments off
By Borzou Daragahi and Noah Browning, Los Angeles Times

Yemeni protesters shout slogans during their "day of rage" rally against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. (Gamal Noman, AFP/Getty Images / February 3, 2011)

Large competing rallies for and against the longtime leader of Yemen unfolded Thursday without incident in one of the Arab world’s poorest, most volatile and violent nations.

The Arabian Peninsula nation’s opposition, inspired by the revolt in Tunisia and the ongoing uprising against President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, had called for a “day of rage” against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has held his title since 1978 and has been accused of corruption and mismanagement. Saleh and his supporters sought to upstage the protesters by holding a simultaneous counter-demonstration across town.

The two rallies drew tens of thousands of people and, unlike in Egypt or Tunisia, unfolded largely peacefully with no major arrests or clashes, according to a Yemeni official. The day’s relative calm suggested that the political passions unleashed by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia will play out in different countries in different ways

In the North African nation of Read more…