Yemeni police on Saturday beat anti-government protesters who were celebrating the resignation of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and demanding the ouster of their own president.
The crackdown reflected an effort to undercut a protest movement seeking fresh momentum from the developments in Egypt, where an 18-day uprising toppled Mr. Mubarak.
Hundreds of protesters had tried to reach the Egyptian embassy in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital on Saturday, but security forces pushed them back. Buses ferried ruling party members, equipped with tents, food and water, to the city’s main square to help prevent attempts by protesters to gather there.
There were about 5,000 security agents and government supporters in the Sanaa square named Tahrir, or Liberation. Egypt’s protesters built an encampment at a square of the same name in Cairo, and it became a rallying point for their movement.
Witnesses say police, including plainclothes agents, drove several thousand protesters away from Sanaa’s main square on Friday night. The demonstrators tore up pictures of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and shouted slogans demanding his immediate resignation.
Mr. Saleh has been in power for three decades and tried to blunt unrest by promising not to run again. His term ends in 2013.
Yemen is the Arab world’s most impoverished nation and has become a haven for al-Qaeda militants. Mr. Saleh’s government is riddled with corruption. Its main source of income — oil — could run dry in a decade.