Mass protests in Yemen amid speculation over Saleh's health

Mass protests in Yemen amid speculation over Saleh's health

Mass anti-government protests have taken place in Yemen on Friday amid uncertainty about the health of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, dpa reported.

"This is a revolution till victory," an imam told tens of thousands gathered in the Sixty Street in the capital Sana'a during weekly Friday prayers.

The protesters aimed to pressure acting president Abd-Rabou Mansur into ending the stalemate and form an interim council.

"I call on friendly and neighbouring countries to help the Yemeni people," the imam said in his televised sermon before shouting "We want freedom, we want freedom," in English.

Millions of Yemenis have been demanding since February that Saleh step down after 32 years in power. More than 350 people have been killed in the government crackdown on protesters, according to human rights groups.

Salehis in a Saudi Arabian hospital, recovering from serious injuries sustained during an attack on his presidential palace earlier this month.

Mansur said in an interview with CNN released on Thursday that Saleh's injuries were so severe that the date of his return from Saudi Arabia was unknown. He also said a piece of wood had pierced Saleh's chest and he had suffered burns to his face, arms and upper body.

In the southern city of Taiz, huge crowds gathered in the city's main square, a witness told the German Press Agency dpa by phone.

"After the prayers, people were chanting their demands of forming an interim council and speedy trials for all symbols of corruption," he said.

Later, the city was quiet, after most protesters left the square and only few hundreds remained.

The protests on Friday were largely peaceful across the country after weeks of violence between Saleh's loyalists and armed tribesmen who vowed to support protesters.

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