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Yemen in the red because of protests

An image grab taken from Yemen's state television shows Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh delivering a televised speech from the Saudi capital Riyadh on July 7, 2011 as he made his first TV appearance since he was wounded in an explosion at his palace in Sanaa. UPI/Ismael Mohamad.
An image grab taken from Yemen's state television shows Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh delivering a televised speech from the Saudi capital Riyadh on July 7, 2011 as he made his first TV appearance since he was wounded in an explosion at his palace in Sanaa. UPI/Ismael Mohamad. | License Photo

SANAA, Yemen, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Protests that erupted in Yemen as part of the so-called Arab Spring have cost the country billions in revenue, an official said.

Following revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, protesters took to the streets of Yemen calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to give up power after serving as head of state since the 1970s.

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The country's official Saba news agency notes that protests have cost the country about $8 billion from January through July. Revenue from tourism, the agency notes, is down more than half of its 2010 level of $1.1 billion.

Government officials, Saba adds, asked local councilmen to provide daily updates about the level of violence in their area.

Saleh was released recently from a hospital in Saudi Arabia nearly two months after he suffered injuries in a June 3 attack on his presidential compound.

He's made no indication he plans to step down early despite mounting pressure from the international community. He claims he won't step down until two of his opponents, Gen. Ali Moshen al-Ahmar and Sadiq al-Ahmar, leave the country.

Yemeni opposition leaders said last month they wouldn't negotiate peace with Saleh unless he signs a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council for his departure.

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