Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yemen opposition rejects emergency state

Yemeni anti-government protesters (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Yemeni opposition groups have rejected the state of emergency approved by the parliament and vowed to push ahead with their anti-government protests.

"Youth protesters will not accept anything other than President [Ali Abdullah] Saleh leaving," said opposition parliamentarian Fuad Dahaba on Wednesday, adding the Yemenis will pay no attention to any proposal from Yemen's incumbent president.

On Wednesday, the Yemeni parliament approved a state of emergency, proposed by Saleh, which suspends the constitution, bars street protests, allows media censorship and gives security forces 30 days of far-reaching powers to arrest and detain suspects without judicial process.

Opposition bloc Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) announced in a statement “This law justifies the president shedding blood, transgressing properties and privacy, and restricting movements and freedoms.”

The law contradicts the constitution as well as Islamic Sharia law, the statement added.

Opposition groups dispute the legality of the state of emergency vote, saying its adoption was a virtual certainty as Saleh's ruling party dominates the 301-seat legislature.

In defiance of the Yemeni regime's initiative, thousands of people gathered in front of Sana'a University, calling for massive nationwide protests on Friday.

The Yemeni president declared the state of emergency on Friday after security forces and regime vigilantes gunned down more than 50 protesters near Sana'a University - the epicenter of anti-government protests in the capital.

The anti-government protesters are calling for an end to Saleh's three-decade rule.

So far, a number of army commanders, including Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and some of the major tribes have expressed their support for the protesters.

In an attempt to appease the protesters on Tuesday, Saleh announced that he would quit office by January 2012, 20 months earlier than planned. But the measure failed to contain nearly two months of anti-government demonstrations.

Since the beginning of anti-Saleh demonstrations in January, nearly 100 protesters have been killed and many others injured during clashes with security forces or supporters of Saleh, who are armed with knives and batons.

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