Yemeni opposition activists have staged a fourth day of protests in the capital Sana’a to demand the ouster of authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
At least 1,000 university students, lawyers and other activists marched from Sana’a university toward the city center Monday. They chanted anti-Saleh slogans mirroring those used by Egyptian protesters who forced their autocratic president Hosni Mubarak to step down last week after 30 years in power.
The Yemeni protesters also denounced widespread government corruption.
A group of pro-Saleh activists also gathered in Sana’a Monday to confront the president’s opponents. Yemeni police tried to keep the rival groups apart. Elsewhere, police struggled to contain hundreds of anti-government protesters in the southern city of Taiz.
Yemeni police on Sunday used batons to break up a march by hundreds of anti-Saleh activists in Sana’a. U.S.-based rights organization Human Rights Watch criticized the crackdown, accusing police of using electroshock tasers to “brutally” beat peaceful protesters without provocation.
Yemeni state television said Sunday the unrest has forced Mr. Saleh to cancel a visit to the United States scheduled for later this month.
Anti-Saleh protests in Yemen have escalated since Friday, when crowds gathered to celebrate the ouster of Egypt’s president in an 18-day uprising fueled by similar grievances. Mr. Saleh has been in office since 1978. In a gesture to his critics, he announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2013.