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© Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
Mourners shouted slogans as they awaited coffins during a funeral for antigovernment protesters in Sana, Yemen. Security forces had fired on protesters from rooftops Friday.
The US-backed president of Yemen took a devastating political blow yesterday when his own powerful tribe demanded his resignation, joining religious leaders, young people, and the country's traditional opposition in calls for an end to his three decades in power.

Massive crowds flooded cities and towns around the impoverished and volatile nation, screaming in grief and anger as they mourned dozens of protesters killed Friday when President Ali Abdullah Saleh's security forces opened fire from rooftops on a demonstration in the capital.

Saleh appeared to be trying to hold on, firing his entire Cabinet ahead of what one government official said was a planned mass resignation, but making no mention of stepping down. Yemen's ambassador to the United Nations and its human rights minister had announced their resignations earlier in the day.

Analysts said Saleh, who has cooperated closely with US military operations against his country's branch of Al Qaeda, had lost the support of every major power base in Yemen except the military. Many said he would now be forced to choose between stepping down and confronting demonstrators with even deadlier force.

Bahrain

Bahrain's opposition asked for UN and American intervention in the government crackdown on the Shi'ite protests trying to loosen the monarchy's grip, in a brief protest yesterday in the capital that disbanded before police could arrive to break it up.

The 18 opposition legislators protesting at the UN offices in Manama resigned last month to protest the crackdown on the monthlong revolt, inspired by the prodemocracy uprisings across the Arab world. Bahrain's king declared martial law last week, and a Saudi-led military force from other Gulf nations is in the country to back the Sunni monarchy.

In the five-minute protest, the lawmakers appealed to the UN to stop the violence against protesters and mediate talks between the opposition and the monarchy; they asked the United States to pressure the Gulf force to leave.

Syria

Police fired live ammunition and tear gas yesterday at thousands of Syrians protesting in a tense southern city for a third consecutive day, killing one person and signaling that unrest in yet another Arab country is taking root, activists said.

Enraged protesters set fire to several local government buildings, according to state media and a witness.

The violence in Daraa, a city of about 300,000 near the border with Jordan, was fast becoming a major challenge for President Bashar Assad, who tried to contain the situation by freeing detainees and promising to fire officials responsible for the violence.

The confrontations began Friday when security troops fired at protesters in Daraa and killed five people.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi demonstrators gathered outside the Interior Ministry yesterday morning, demanding the release of political prisoners held without trial, activists said.

The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association said police detained about half of the estimated 100 protesters and placed them on buses. Saudi Arabia has witnessed small rallies mainly by the country's minority Shi'ites in eastern Saudi Arabia. The protesters urged the government to release detainees and showed support for Shi'ite demonstrators in nearby Bahrain.

Source: The Associated Press