A statement carried by the state news agency says Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ordered his security forces to protect demonstrators trying to end his 32-year rule.
The statement also said Saleh instructed security forces to "thwart all clashes and prevent direct confrontation between pro- and antigovernment protesters."
At least 15 people have been killed since the unrest began in Yemen on February 16.
The protesters have often been met by security forces firing tear gas or rubber bullets or Saleh supporters with knives and clubs.
At least seven parliament deputies have resigned in protest against the violence used to quell the protests.
Saleh has promised to step down when his term ends in 2013 but has said he will not give in to what he described as opponents advocating anarchy.
compiled from agency reports