Saturday, April 2, 2011

France calls for change in Yemen as pro and anti-Saleh camps protest


Apr 2, 2011

France on Friday called for a peaceful political transition in Yemen, as tens of thousands of demonstrators mobilised for and against President Ali Abdallah Saleh in Sanaa and other cities.

There is no alternative to this political transition,” French foreign ministry Bernard Valero told reporters, pointing out that the Yemeni authorities have promised change in response to over nearly two months of opposition protests.

Saleh’s opponents, who have occupied a square near Sanaa University since late February, were swamped by his tens of thousands of supporters Friday, although the army kept the two sides apart.

"I pledge ... to sacrifice myself for the people, with my blood and with everything I hold dear," Saleh told the crowd, some of whom carried pictures of him in tribal dress.

There was a massive anti-Saleh turnout in the south of the country and clashes are reported in Hodeida on the Red Sea.

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