At least two pro-democracy protesters were injured after several hundred supporters of the president, armed with knives and batons, broke up the demonstration on Saturday.
“After Mubarak, it’s Ali’s turn,” chanted some of the estimated 5,000 protesters who headed towards Sanaa University, with some crying, “Get out, Get out Ali” and others chanting, “The people want the regime to fall,” AFP reported.
They also chanted slogans such as “Oh Ali, oh Ali, catch up with Ben Ali!”
“What we want is to demand the rights of all people and overthrow the regime, the president must leave just like Hosni Mubarak and the Tunisian president,” said a protester.
Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) Party has erected giant tents in Tahrir Square to prevent the opposition from using the site for sit-ins.
US-based Human Rights Watch said security forces did nothing to stop hundreds of men with knives and rifles as they attacked Yemeni protesters celebrating the ouster of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak on Friday.
Hundreds of protesters in Sanaa had tried to reach the Egyptian embassy on Saturday.
Hosni Mubarak handed power over to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces on Friday, giving in to eighteen days of pro-democracy protests across the nation.
Mubarak’s ouster has raised questions about the long-term stability of Yemen and other Western-sponsored governments in the region.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, eyeing protests in the Arab world, has promised not to seek reelection or transfer of power to his son, though his term doesn’t end until 2013.
The move, however, followed pro-democracy demonstrations, as the opposition has yet to respond to his call to join a unity government.