Government Supporters, Opponents Rally in Yemen

By Ahmed Al-Haj | February 3, 2011 | 5:42 AM EST

Sanaa, Yemen (AP) - Thousands of opponents of Yemen's government and its supporters are demonstrating in the capital and other cities a day after the president pledged not to seek another term in office.

His move was an apparent attempt to defuse protests inspired by Tunisia's revolt and the turmoil in Egypt.

Several thousand protesters marched Thursday from Sanaa University calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his regime to step down sooner. Saleh has been in power for nearly 32 years.

Several thousand pro-government protesters were marching downtown with banners supporting Saleh and accusing the opposition of intending to "destabilize and create chaos."

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world and is beset by an al-Qaida offshoot attacking government forces and foreign embassies.