With Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh recovering from surgery in Saudi Arabia after an attack on his palace, and a tenuous ceasefire between government troops and opposition tribesmen prevailing in the capital, Sanaa, pro- and anti-Saleh protesters took to Yemen's streets in droves today, with the opposition calling for an immediate political transition and Saleh loyalists expressing hope for the president's speedy return. The footage emerging from today's massive demonstrations is pretty powerful.
In Change Square, Al Jazeera notes, Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashed tribal confederation, led about 10,000 people in a funeral procession for tribal fighters killed last week by government troops. Nearly 100,000 Yemenis ended up gathering in the square after morning prayers, according to the AP. This video, uploaded by la7jpress, appears to be of a protest in Sanaa:
This footage, highlighted by the Twitter user @ArabsUnite, captures an anti-government protest in the city of Ibb, as the camera zooms in on the protesters' faces:
Not far from Sanaa's Change Square, several thousand regime supporters staged their own rally, captured in this Guardian clip:
Observing that Saleh's supporters have organized protests on three successive days, Adam Baron at McClatchy thinks that the bombing of Saleh's palace may have strengthened rather than weakened Saleh's hold on power. "His relatives appear to have consolidated their control of Yemen's best trained military units and his supporters have become more visibly defiant of calls for him to resign," Baron notes. He adds that, in an indication of who's really in charge, interim leader Abd al-Rab al-Mansour al-Haddi continues to work from his home or office, while Saleh's son, Ahmed Ali, has moved into the presidential compound.
In other developments today, U.S. officials told NBC News that the attack on Saleh's palace was an "inside job" or assassination attempt using an explosive device rather than a rocket attack from outside the compound, as initially reported. The officials said they based their conclusion partially on the "serious wounds Saleh suffered, severe facial burns and large shard of wood that went through his chest and punctured his lung."
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