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Yemenis pray for political impasse end
  The demonstrators, who packed the broad street at prayer time, raised placards demanding that an interim council be established to prepare for elections.
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Saturday 25 June 2011 17:08
Code : 43883
Senior Yemen
Senior Yemen's opposition tribal member Hashim al-Ahmar (C) attends Friday prayers in Sanaa June 24.(Reuters)
BFnews: Tens of thousands of opposition Yemenis packed central Sanaa in what they called the "Friday of the Revolutionary Will" -- a signal of their determination to continue protests to get the wounded president to stand down.Yemen has been stuck in a political impasse over the fate of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, recovering in Saudi Arabia from injuries sustained in an attack on his palace earlier this month.

The 69-year-old Saleh had defied months of protests by hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and pressure from the United States and his Gulf Arab neighbours, refusing to transfer power to his deputy under a plan aimed at preventing the country from sliding to civil war.

Friday's opposition supporters packed central Sanaa's Street Sixty to show they still wanted him to quit.

The number of demonstrators who had camped out in city squares all over Yemen since February dwindled after Saleh was flown to Riyadh for treatment after the June 3 attack.

Abdel-Jabbar al-Dubhani, an activist as he hurried for the traditional Friday prayers on Sixty Street said: We will escalate our struggle and revolution to bring down the remaining pillars of the regime and force them to leave.

The demonstrators, who packed the broad street at prayer time, raised placards demanding that an interim council be established to prepare for elections. They want it to include revolutionary youths who have kept up protests since February.

Addressing Western powers, the preacher said: Isn't freedom and choosing our own rulers, as you do in your own countries, our right?

Similar protests were reported in other cities, including Ta'iz, Ibb and Hudaida on the Red Sea.

Demonstrators had hoped Saleh's departure to Riyadh would mark the beginning of the end of his 33 years in power but he has held on.

A UN spokeswoman said on Friday: A team of United Nations human rights investigators will travel to Yemen next week to assess the situation after months of unrest.

A smaller number of Saleh supporters prayed on Friday at another mosque in Sanaa, displaying posters of the president and his Saudi host, King Abdullah, before they dispersed peacefully.                         

In Aden, witnesses said that security forces shot dead one demonstrator and wounded six others when they opened fire on thousands of people at the funeral of a local resident who died in a prison a year ago.

Witnesses said the demonstrators had been displaying a large flag of former south Yemen, which merged with north Yemen in 1990.

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Source : Reuters