Tens of thousands of protesters massed on Thursday at Sanaa University for a "day of rage" against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule, while a similar number of loyalists flooded a central square in support of the embattled leader.
With Saleh supporters, some of them armed, taking over Al-Tahrir square from Wednesday night, protest organizers were forced to change the planned venue of their demonstration.
From early morning they drove through the streets advertising the new site over megaphones, blaming the change on the fact that "the men of the ruling party and their armed elements are holding Al-Tahrir."
By mid-morning tens of thousands of protesters had gathered at the university, with a similarly-sized crowd of loyalists massing at Al-Tahrir, about 2 kilometres away, in the center of the capital, correspondents said.
Police were on Thursday trying to filter the influx of people into the square, some of whom carried banners reading, "We are with Ali Abdullah Saleh. We are with Yemen," and "The opposition wants to destroy Yemen."
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