More protests in Yemen despite Saleh move

SANAA, Yemen, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Pro- and anti-government demonstrators took to the streets of the Yemeni capital Thursday after the country's president said he wouldn't seek re-election.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced Wednesday he wasn't going to seek another term in office after his term expires in 2013.


"No to hereditary rule and no to life presidency," he said following the announcement of his decision.

Pro-Saleh demonstrators marched Thursday in support of the president while opposition parties gathered for rival protests in Sanaa, the official Saba news agency reports.

Opposition leaders are condemning the "monopoly of power" and calling for more equal distribution of the nation's limited wealth. Pro-government groups praised the president for reaching out to his critics, the news agency adds.

Parts of the Middle East are in the grips of political crisis following the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia with the governments of Egypt, Jordan and Yemen facing opposition pressure. Syrian opposition groups have called for similar protests Friday.

Apart from the election decision, Saleh said parliamentary elections set for April were postponed.

Saleh, first elected in 1999, is the first and only president of an independent Yemen.

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