Yemenis gather in capital for prayers, protests

Sanaa, Feb 25 (AP) Tens of thousands of people aregathering in a main square in the Yemeni capital for Fridayprayers that are expected to be followed by mass protests topress demands for the president to step down.

Witnesses say the protesters are pouring into a squarenear the main gates of Sanaa University for the demonstrationsamid a tight security presence.

Yemen has been swept up in protests inspired by therecent successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Thedemonstrators are demanding that US-backed President AliAbdullah Saleh, in power for 32 years, step down.

On Wednesday, Saleh said he had ordered his securityservices to protect protesters, stop all clashes and preventdirect confrontation between government supporters andopponents. (AP)

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