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Friday, May 13, 2011

Yemeni president defies protesters to march forward his palaces 
SANAA, May 13 (Xinhua) Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh openly defied on Friday his opponents to march forward the presidential palaces to force him out of power, warning that armed forces will be forced to defend the state from saboteurs of the opposition.
"We will confront challenges of the opposition with challenges, Saleh told tens of thousands of his supporters gathering near Saleh's presidential palace in the capital Sanaa.
"We warn the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) to stop playing with fire, and to stop storming and destroying the government buildings and facilities, otherwise our people and the military forces will be forced to defend the country's interests, Saleh said.

The president also called on the opposition coalition to join  a constructive national dialogue, saying that "if they want to change the regime, they should achieve it through ballot box, not through riot acts.
The opposition spokesman Mohamed Qahtan refused to comment on Saleh's speech, but an opposition leader told Xinhua that "this man (Saleh) was not calling for any conciliation dialogue, but rather publicly announced the war against us."
"We will continue our peaceful actions, not through engaging in war with Saleh's forces, but through holding comprehensive civil demonstrations across the country to press Saleh to leave office," the leader said on condition of anonymity, adding that "we don't expect that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative would achieve any reconciliation, especially after Qatar's withdrawal."
Tensions soared after Saleh in his Friday speech accused the opposition of storming a number of government buildings in southern provinces of Taiz, Ibb and Al-Bayda on Wednesday.
Following Friday's midday Muslim prayer in Ibb, government forces fired live bullets and tear gas on tens of thousands of protesters demanding Saleh's ouster, killing at least two protesters and injuring another dozen, witnesses said.
"Central Security Forces and Republican Guards opened fire and hurled tear gas to the protesters gathering in al-Dairy Street in downtown Ibb while the latter responded with throwing stones," a witness named Mohamed Kasim told Xinhua.
Kasim said the clashes, in which the protesters set three of security vehicles on fire, forced both protesters and the security forces to scatter.
Protesters in provinces of Sanaa, Dhamar, Al-Hodayda, Al-Bayda, Taiz, Aden, Amran, Shabwa, Marib, Hajja, Sadda, Lahj, Abyan, Al- Mahweet and Hadramout were reportedly marched on Friday.
The security and economic situations in the impoverished Arab country have been aggravated by the three-month-long ongoing street protests across the country, calling for an immediate end to Saleh's 33-year rule.
Yemeni Minister of Oil and Minerals Amir Salim Al-Aydarus was quoted by official Saba news agency late on Thursday as saying that the country is facing an imminent economic collapse due to attacks on oil pipelines and ongoing unrest.

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