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Posted at 4:08 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Yemen: "Day of Rage" tomorrow

By Portia Walker
egypt riots
Yemeni anti-government protesters chant slogans calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital Sanaa on Feb. 28, 2011. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Journalist Portia Walker sent in this report from Sanaa, Yemen Monday:

As unrest continues to grow in the troubled southern Arabian state of Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh was today dealt yet another blow when the opposition coalition rebuffed his offer of a unity government.

Tuesday has been designated a "day of rage" by the opposition coalition.

On Monday evening thousands of anti-government demonstrators gathered at a camp they set up outside the gates of the university campus. Groups of men sat chewing khat and reading newspapers. In the crowds outside a bearded sheikh shook hands with two young men. Another carried an infant child on his shoulders, wrapped in a Yemeni flag.

Demonstrators held handmade signs written in Arabic and English. One read, "We want democracy and freedom. Go out!" and another echoed the chant of the demonstrators in Tunisia and Egypt, "the people want the downfall of the regime."

One of the demonstrators gathered there was 22-year-old student, Ayman Al Mashrafi. He was disenchanted with the opposition coalition, "the opposition isn't important here, what's important is the young people."

"If they want to come with us, they're welcome", adds Fouad al Shuwaib, 40, an engineer, "but this is our revolution, this is for all Yemenis."

Both agree that they want any revolution in Yemen to echo the ones they have witnessed in Egypt and Tunisia, led by young people and without the overt involvement of political parties.

The situation in Yemen is precarious after key tribal leaders openly sided with the popular opposition movement at the weekend while others announced their support for the president, prompting fears that as different power factions take up opposing positions, a civil war could break out.

Not everyone in the capital is affected by the increasingly tense political situation. Elsewhere in the city, life continued as normal. Shops remained open and the roads were crowded with rush hour traffic as men returned home from work. "Everything is ok," said Mohammed, a thirty-year-old shopkeeper in Sana'a ancient old city, "we have many problems here but President Saleh is alright".

By Portia Walker  | February 28, 2011; 4:08 PM ET
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