x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Yemen's Saleh again rejects move to replace him

Protesters continued as a GCC-brokered exit plan was rejected by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has denounced the deal as outside interference.

SANA'A // Dozens of anti-government protesters in Yemen were shot and wounded in fresh clashes with police yesterday as President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected a new deal to secure an end to his 32 years in power.

Mr Saleh, facing an unprecedented challenge from hundreds of thousands of protesters, initially accepted an offer by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states to hold talks with the opposition.

On Wednesday, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al Thani said the GCC would strike a deal for Saleh to leave.

"We don't get our legitimacy from Qatar or from anyone else...we reject this belligerent intervention," Saleh told a crowd of tens of thousands of supporters in the capital Sanaa.

Frustration with the impasse may push the thousands of Yemenis who have taken to the streets closer to violence. Some 21 people died in clashes this week in Taiz, south of the capital and the Red Sea port of Hudaida.

Fresh clashes broke out in Taiz on Friday when hundreds of protesters clashed with police, who fired gunshots and tear gas, wounding dozens, witnesses said. The protesters had been carrying the bodies of five people killed earlier in the week to their gravesites when they ran into security forces.

Al Arabayia television said two protesters had been killed.

Doctors said five were wounded from live fire or beatings and another 50 were suffering from tear gas inhalation.

In the port city of Aden, once the capital of an independent south, thousands of anti-government protesters gathered peacefully and in Hudaida, some 15,000 gathered to mourn protester deaths and demand Mr Saleh step down.

"We're tired of this poverty and oppression in Hudaida and all of Yemen," said protester Abdullah Fakira. "Enough already."

Some 40 percent of Yemen's 23-million people live on less than $2 a day and a third face chronic hunger. Poverty and exasperation with rampant corruption, protesters say, drove the pro-democracy protests that began over two months ago.