Government opponents, supporters participate in Yemen massive rallies

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SANAA, YEMEN: Hundreds of thousands of people on Thursday took to the streets of the Yemeni capital and other provinces to participate in pro- and anti-government rallies, official Saba news agency reported.

Civil society organizations, trade unions, social figures and women participated in the marches.

Pro-demonstrators supported the call launched on Wednesday by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resume the dialogue. While the opposition, who had called for the "Day of Rage," chanted slogans and waived banners denouncing the "monopoly of power" and calling for the distribution of wealth.

According to the Yemen Post, at least 22 people were arrested by Yemeni security forces in Aden province. Eyewitness said that authorities were trying to stop protesters from participating in an anti-government rally.

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Wednesday he will not seek his reelection in 2013, after thousands of protesters demanded his resignation in previous rallies.

In a joint meeting of the Parliament and the Shura Council in Sanaa, which was boycotted by the opposition, President Saleh announced the "freezing of constitutional amendments" and called for a comprehensive national dialogue. In addition, President Saleh, who has been in power since 1978, said the 27 April parliamentary elections would be postponed.

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