SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- More than 3,000 supporters of the Yemeni opposition movement hit the streets Monday complaining of the country's leadership, witnesses said.
Yemen was the site of widespread protests last week as the Arab community reacted to the revolution in Tunisia and ongoing political unrest in Egypt.
Thousands of supporters of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties movement took to the streets in the country's rural south complaining of what they said was the oppressive rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Saleh, in office since 1994, is a key supporter of the U.S. effort to take on al-Qaida franchises across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen's branch of the terrorist cabal, claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting Western interests in 2009 and 2010.
A spokesman for the opposition group accused Saleh of not being serious about political dialogue while presidential backers said anti-government elements aren't willing to talk.
Yemeni officials said security forces wouldn't intervene as long as demonstrations were peaceful. The government noted that the priority for security forces in Yemen was to make sure there was security as the country prepares for parliamentary elections in April.
Opposition parties in Yemen said they were preparing for widespread protests Thursday.