updated 1/22/2011 11:41:14 AM ET 2011-01-22T16:41:14

Thousands of Yemeni protesters have called for the ouster of their president after 32 years in power.

Students, activists and opposition groups gathered Saturday inside the University of Sanaa in the capital to chant slogans against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

It appeared to be the first demonstration to directly confront the rule of Yemen's president, something that had been a red line few dissenters dared to challenge.

The demonstrators clearly drew inspiration from the recent ouster of Tunisia's longtime leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

"Oh, Ali, join your friend Ben Ali," the crowds chanted.

Police fired tear gas at the demonstrators, whose grievances include proposed constitutional changes that would allow the president to rule for a lifetime.

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