, SANAA, Mar 10 – Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday promised to protect anti-government demonstrators from violence, after weeks of unrest which has left around 30 people dead.
Saleh made the promise in a speech to thousands of people at a political rally in the capital Sanaa, a day after two people were killed in fresh unrest.
"We have ordered the security forces to continue to provide protection for all the protesters, whether they are supporters of our legitimacy or from the opposition," he told the massive crowd in a televised address.
Yemen, a strategic US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda\’s offshoot in the Arabian Peninsula, has been swept up in the wave of unrest that has redrawn Arab politics and ousted autocratic regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.
One of the poorest countries in the region, is has seen almost daily protests against Saleh\’s 32-year rule which are destabilising a country already mired in sectarian and secessionist violence.