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Yemeni protesters reject deal for president, demand his ouster

SANA, Yemen — Protesters remained committed Sunday to continuing demonstrations despite President Ali Abdullah Saleh's apparent acceptance of a proposal under which he would leave soon.

Under terms of a plan mediated by the Gulf Cooperative Council, Saleh would get legal immunity in exchange for handing power to his vice president within 30 days. The plan, which was welcomed by leaders in the United States and Europe, calls for elections 60 days after Saleh resigns. Leaders of the Joint Meeting Parties, a coalition of Yemen's opposition parties, have conditionally accepted the deal.

Since February, widespread protests have gripped Yemen. Sana's Change Square is the center of a tent city as tens of thousands of protesters maintain a sit-in as they call for Saleh's fall.

Despite reports that the president had accepted the plan for him to resign, protesters continued to pack the square on Sunday, the mood remaining one of defiance. Opinion among protesters remained strongly against the deal despite its acceptance by the Joint Meeting Parties.

"The JMP is not leading this revolution," said Hossam al-Sunaidy, a young activist. "Our party is the revolution"

Such attitudes were not confined to revolutionary youth. Abdullah Auraimy, a 57-year-old former soldier, said of Saleh: "We will not leave until he does. What the parties say is meaningless if the people are against it."

Yemeni protesters reject deal for president, demand his ouster 04/24/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 24, 2011 9:41pm]
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