The president of Yemen has become the latest long-term Arab head of state to come under pressure after mass protests in the capital, Sanaa.

Thousands of Yemenis have taken to the streets in protest at the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power in the country for more than 30 years.

Four separate rallies have been held in Sanaa, including at the city’s university.

The protests have been organised by opposition parties frustrated at the mounting poverty and lack of political freedom in the country. Other factors include a lack of basic necessities such as water and growing security concerns.

It is estimated that 40 per cent of Yemenis live on less than $2 a day. Unemployment stands at about 35 per cent with illiteracy standing at 50 per cent of the population.