SANA, Yemen — Yemeni protest leaders announced the formation of a so-called shadow government Saturday in a move to take the lead in the fight to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.
The new group seeks to create a unified leadership for the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have filled public squares across Yemen for five months.
But it was unclear how the group planned to assert authority and it was unlikely to significantly increase pressure on Saleh. The embattled president clung to power even after he traveled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment of wounds sustained in an assassination attempt more than a month ago.
During Saleh's absence, Yemen descended into further chaos as militant groups tried to exert control over outlaying provinces. Also, political negotiations over a transfer of power have stalled. Saleh has declined to sign a regionally brokered deal that offers him immunity from prosecution in exchange for leaving office.
Protest leader Tawakul Karman told reporters in Yemen's capital of Sana on Saturday that the new 17-member council includes former ministers, prominent business people and civil society leaders.