Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has once again rejected calls for his resignation, as the Middle Eastern country’s revolutionary movement continues unabated.Hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on Friday, calling on Saleh to quit immediately, a Press TV report said.
Similar demonstrations were held in the Yemeni cities of Taizz and Ibb as well.
In Ibb, a small city south of Sana’a, snipers opened fire on protesters after noon prayers, killing at least two of them.
In the southern city of Taizz, a hub of opposition to Saleh, government forces sprayed live ammunition on the crowds, wounding at least four protesters.
The use of brute force to clamp down on peaceful protests has only fueled anti-regime sentiments in crisis-hit Yemen.
Many now believe that the days of Saleh’s presidency are numbered. However, the Yemeni president remains defiant.
Addressing a crowd of his supporters in the capital on Friday, Saleh lashed out at his critics, referring to them as law-breakers and stressed that the military — which is under his command — would do anything â€œto protect its institution.â€
The parliamentary opposition denounced Saleh’s defiant words as a declaration of war.
The remarks also appear as a warning to opposition groups who have been calling for a massive march on the presidential palace.
At least 300 protesters have been killed and many others left injured during clashes with riot police and armed forces loyal to the embattled Yemeni president since the anti-regime demonstrations began in late January, local reports say.
The political crisis in Yemen deepened further after Saleh refused to sign a deal proposed by the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC).
The deal proposes that Saleh should resign from his post within 30 days after signing the accord in exchange for immunity from prosecution. A new government will be formed by the opposition within seven days and should arrange presidential and parliamentary elections within 60 days.
Following Saleh’s rebuff of the Arab-mediated initiative, Qatar announced on Thursday that it was â€œcompelledâ€ to pull out of the talks â€œbecause of procrastinationâ€ and continued confrontations.