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Protesters gather near Yemeni university

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Violent protests in Yemen
  • Protesters chant, "First Mubarak, now Ali!"
  • Pro-government and anti-government demonstrators gather near Sanaa University
  • At least six people were wounded Saturday

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Hundreds of anti-government protesters gathered Sunday near a university at the Yemeni capital for a 10th consecutive day, witnesses said.

Some of them chanted, "First Mubarak, now Ali," referring to Hosni Mubarak, who recently resigned as president of Egypt after nearly 30 years in power, and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"It's amazing. It's a very peaceful atmosphere," said Atiaf Alwazir, an online activist. Eyewitnesses estimated the crowd of about a thousand, mostly students. People seemed in high spirits, witnesses said.

Pro-government demonstrators and police were also seen near Sanaa University, according to Adnan Al-Nahari, a student at the campus. However, their presence wasn't very obvious to witnesses in the area.

Yemen unrest
  • Yemen

At least six people were wounded Saturday, officials said. Saleh blamed the unrest on foreign agendas and a plot against Yemen's stability, according to the state-run Saba news agency.

"Everybody has the right to express his views peacefully and has the right to have a say through media as there are many democratic means for the expression of opinion," Saleh told Saturday's founding conference of Civil Society Organizations, according to Saba.

The president said he hoped the conference will come up with recommendations to alleviate his country's instability.

"We do not want to copy others, but we shall define what we want," he said, according to Saba.

Saleh expressed concern about violence in the coastal city of Aden, where five people have been killed since Wednesday in anti-government demonstrations, hospital and government officials said.

Saleh urged nonviolent change through the ballot box, according to the state-run news agency.

In an attempt to quell growing discontent, Saleh, a key U.S. ally in the fight against an offshoot of al Qaeda in Yemen, has announced he won't seek another term in 2013 after being in power for 32 years. He also said he would postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for April to allow more time for discussions about reform.

Yemen's situation is exacerbated by the U.S.-aided crackdown on al Qaeda, a Shiite uprising, a secessionist movement in its once-independent south, and a looming shortage of water.

Saleh has also been in touch with King Hamad of Bahrain, also mired in unrest.

Journalist Hakim Almasmari contributed to this report.

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