Major tribes join Yemen protests
Yemeni protesters (file photo)
Major tribes in Yemen have jointed pro-democracy protests demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, tribal sources say.
Inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, Yemeni protesters are urging President Saleh to end his 32-year rule.
Dozens of demonstrators have been killed and hundreds more injured by Yemeni security forces and Saleh's loyalists during the protests.
The sources told AFP that the Yemeni tribal leaders vowed during a Saturday meeting in the northern sector of the capital, Sana'a, to join the protests aimed at toppling Saleh.
The leaders of important tribes, including the Hashid and Baqil, took part in the gathering.
"I have announced my resignation from the (ruling) General People's Congress (GPC) in protest at the repression of peaceful demonstrators in Sanaa, Taez and Aden," Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah al-Ahmar, the head of the Hashid tribal confederation, was quoted as saying.
Elders of the Baqil tribe, Yemen's second largest confederation of clans, welcomed the speech of al-Ahmar who is the leader of the country's most powerful tribe.
The tribes have enormous power in Yemen's power structure.
At least six pro-democracy protesters have lost their lives during clashes with security forces in Yemen on Friday.
Medics say four people were killed and several others injured in the city of Aden in southern Yemen after security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters, who demanded the ouster of Saleh.
Witnesses say security forces fired tear gas and live bullets as thousands of protesters from several parts of the city marched towards the tightly patrolled Al-Aroob Square in the Khor Maksar neighborhood.
In the capital, Sana'a, tens of thousands of protesters poured into a main square near Sana'a University chanting "Out, out!"
Organizers say over 100,000 protesters have attended the demonstration.
Security forces also killed two demonstrators and injured dozens near Sana'a University on Friday.
Friday's fatality came after Yemeni officials said on Thursday that President Saleh had ordered security forces to protect protesters.
The protesters have dubbed Friday "the beginning of the end" for Saleh's regime, which has been in power since 1978.
The Yemeni president has described the pro-democracy protesters that demand his ouster as "elements of a coup."
In a bid to contain the protests, Saleh announced that he would leave power after his term expires in 2013. He also promised not to hand over power to his son.
He has also pledged to raise the wages of government employees and to provide 60,000 job opportunities for university graduates.
But the concessions seem to have not been enough for the protesters and they still want Saleh to step down.
Since the beginning of demonstrations in Yemen, at least 28 people have been killed and hundreds of others have been injured in clashes with security forces.