(See EXTRA, MET for more on Middle East unrest.)
June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in at least 15 provinces across Yemen calling for the formation of a transitional government and the immediate resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
“No to the ruling family,” people chanted in the capital Sana’a today, calling for the permanent removal from Yemen of Saleh, his son Ahmed and nephew Ammar. “Relatives of Saleh and rest of the regime are hijacking power,” the people said.
Pro-democracy protesters have been calling for Saleh to step down since January. The president is recuperating in neighboring Saudi Arabia after being injured in a June 3 attack on his compound in the capital, leaving Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi in charge.
“We reject the American and Saudi support to the regime,” said Ammar al-Kinani, an activist in the southern city of Taiz where tens of thousands demonstrated today.
Saleh is due to make a media appearance within 48 hours, his first since he was wounded at the beginning of June, Al Arabiya television reported today, citing the president’s secretary. Saleh has ruled over Yemen for 32 years. His son Ahmed is head of the country’s special forces, the Republican Guard.
Yemen’s government said it will give 3 million rials ($10,000) to anyone with information on members of the Joint Meeting Parties, a six-party opposition coalition that it alleges was involved in the bombing of oil pipelines and the destruction of electricity stations, state-run Saba reported.
Mohammed Qahtan, a spokesman for the JMP, dismissed the accusations as “groundless” and “nonsense” and said the interior ministry is no longer legitimate given the country’s changing political landscape.
--Editors: Paul Armstrong, Digby Lidstone
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