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YEMEN: Nine members of parliament resign to protest government violence

February 23, 2011 | 11:25 am

Yemen Nine members of parliament have resigned from Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party to protest government violence against demonstrators, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Two anti-government protesters were killed and more than 10 were wounded by gunfire during clashes with supporters of Saleh in the capital city Sana on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The resignations, including some major allies of Saleh, are a political blow to a president facing popular demands for an end to his 32-year rule, though he still retains the support of 80% of parliamentarians, Reuters said.

"The people must have the right to demonstrate peacefully," Abdulaziz Jubari, a leading parliamentarian who has resigned, told Reuters.

Jubari said the parliamentarians had sent a 10-point letter to Saleh with demands for immediate reform and restructuring of the army to make it more representative of Yemen's complex society, and to aid a transition to democracy, Reuters said.

The Times reported Wednesday that two weeks of protests in Yemen have repeatedly called for Saleh to step down, but the movement has lacked cohesion.

-- Garrett Therolf

Photo: A riot policeman carries a tear gas launcher during an anti-government protest in Sana Wednesday. Credit: Reuters