Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tens of Thousands of Yemeni Protesters Rally to Support National Council

Sana'a, August 20, 2011- Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters staged rallies across Yemen on Friday to support the newly-established National Council that unified opposition factions seeking to oust embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The 143-member National Council was formed on Wednesday, a day after Saleh in the Saudi capital of Riyadh where he received treatment after he was injured in a bomb attack on his palace in June, vowed in a speech to return soon to Sanaa to resume his duties until 2013.

The National Committee of Peaceful Revolution Forces is due to convene on Saturday to elect a chairman and a 20-member executive board to work out all possible peaceful means to prevent Saleh from returning and push the country towards post-Saleh transitional period, according to the council's representatives.

Following Muslim Friday prayer, the protesters in a west district of the capital Sanaa chanted "Yes for the National Council to lead our peaceful revolution."

"The National Council will achieve all the revolution's goals," read a banner raised by the protesters who gathered under protect by soldiers of the defected First Armored Division.

A few miles away, around 1,000 people joined a pro-government rally to support Saleh, raising pictures of the embattled president and banners reading "Thanks God for your safety," and " We are waiting for your return."

The government accused Hamidal-Ahmar, a leading opposition figure, and General Ali Mohsenal-Ahmar, the commander of the defected First Armored Division, of planning and carrying out the assassination bomb attack on the presidential palace on June 3, which injured the president along with many high-level officials and killed 13 people.

The accusations were published late Thursday by the state-run Saba news agency. The opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties ( JMP) dismissed the alleged charges, describing them as " fabrications" and warning of targeting leaders of Saleh's government.

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