SANA, Yemen — Drawing inspiration from the revolt in Tunisia, thousands of Yemenis fed up with President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule demanded his ouster Saturday in a noisy demonstration that appeared to be the first large-scale public challenge to him.
Clashes also broke out Saturday in Algeria as opposition activists there tried to copy the tactics of their Tunisian neighbors, who forced their longtime leader to flee the country more than a week ago.
The protests in Yemen appeared to be the first of their kind. The nation's 23 million citizens have many grievances: They are the poorest people in the Arab world, there are few political freedoms, constitutional changes are proposed that would allow the president to rule for a lifetime, and the country is rapidly running out of water.
About 2,500 students, activists and opposition groups chanted slogans against Saleh on the grounds of the University of Sana, comparing him to Tunisia's ousted president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose people were similarly enraged by economic woes and government corruption. Protests were also held in the southern port city of Aden. Police fired tear gas on protesters in both cities.
"Get out, get out, Ali. Join your friend Ben Ali," the crowds chanted.
In Algeria, meanwhile, helmeted riot police with batons and shields clashed with rock- and chair-throwing protesters who tried to march in the capital, Algiers, in defiance of a ban on public gatherings. Protest organizers at the democratic opposition party RCD draped a Tunisian flag next to the Algerian flag on a balcony of the party headquarters.
The government said 19 people were injured; an opposition party official put the figure at more than 40.