Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yemeni opposition vows Friday protests

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a rally to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sana'a University on March 22, 2011

Source: Press TV

Yemeni opposition groups have called on anti-government forces to march on the presidential palace in the capital Sana'a and urged President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

"Friday will be the 'Friday of the March Forward', with hundreds of thousands of people... We will arrive where you are and we will remove you,” Reuter quoted opposition spokesman Mohamed Qahtan as telling al- Jazeera news network on Wednesday.

Saleh reportedly informed senior Yemeni officials, military commanders and tribal leaders Monday night of his intention to step down by the year's end to prepare for a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen.

The announcement reflected a reversal of his earlier comments in which he had said he would remain in power until the end of his term in 2013.

Yemeni opposition and religious figures have envisioned a roadmap for the Saleh's departure before the end of this year.

President Saleh has been in office for more than three decades, with several opposition members arguing that his long-promised reforms have not materialized.

Protests began to sweep Yemen in January. Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in a brutal crackdown by state security forces.

There are concerns that intermittent skirmishes between anti-government demonstrators and forces loyal to embattled Ali Abdullah Saleh could eventually spiral out of control and trigger a large-scale violence.

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