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Yemenis protest in support of Tunisians

From Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
Hundreds of people marched though the streets of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in solidarity with Tunisian protesters.
Hundreds of people marched though the streets of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in solidarity with Tunisian protesters.
  • Between 200 and 1,000 people protested in Yemen
  • They supported events in Tunisia that led to the president fleeing
  • They also protested against the Yemeni government
  • Yemen
  • Sanaa
  • Tunisia
  • Tunis

(CNN) -- Protesters in Sanaa, Yemen, took to the streets Sunday in an act of solidarity with protesters in Tunisia whose actions led to the president of that country fleeing.

Observers put the size of the Yemen protest at between 200 and 1,000 people. The crowd marched from Sanaa University to the Tunisian Embassy.

"We were supporting what the Tunisian people did," said Tawakkol Karman, president of Woman Journalists Without Chains, a prominent human rights organization in Yemen.

What the Tunisian people did was stage protests against the government, demanding more jobs and accusing their leaders of corruption. As the protests continued, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country last week. Fouad Mebazaa, the speaker of parliament, was sworn in the following day as interim president, and new elections are due within 60 days.

The protest in Yemen raised the spectre of a domino effect, as the country itself is in the middle of debating constitutional amendments which could end presidential term limits in the country.

Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been in office for 32 years and was last re-elected in 2006. Critics say he is looking for a way to stay in power indefinitely.

"We called on the Yemeni people to wage a revolution against their corrupt leaders," Karman said.

She added, "We gathered to salute the Tunisian people."

The protest, where people were chanting anti-government slogans, was peaceful, journalists who witnessed the event said.

Some banners read, "Yemen's government should leave before they are forced to leave." Others chanted the same slogan.

The crowd was mostly young, and many, though not all, were university students, the journalists said.

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