Some 200 civilians and army troops have marched in the Yemeni capital to demand the return of the son of deposed longtime autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Ahmed Saleh, who once commanded the powerful Republican Guard, left the country following a shake-up of the military by his father's replacement and was named ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in 2013. The demonstrators are urging him to run for the presidency.

Several thousand people also marched in the southern city of Taiz, protesting against Shiite rebels who currently control the capital and much of the north, and who claim they are the country's legitimate rulers.

Embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has fled to the southern city of Aden, from where he also claims to lead the Arab world's poorest country.