Yemen army urged to ignore orders, minister quits | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 21, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 21, 2011

Yemen army urged to ignore orders, minister quits

Muslim clerics urged Yemeni soldiers to disobey orders and a third minister resigned after the gunning down of more than 50 protesters calling for an end to President's Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule.
Leading clerics said Saleh was responsible for the slaughter following Muslim prayers in Sanaa on Friday, the worst day of bloodshed in more a month of violent unrest.
"We call on the army and security forces to not carry out any order from anyone to kill and repress" demonstrators, a group of influential clerics in the deeply religious country said in a joint statement.
They also called for Saleh's elite Republican Guard troops to be withdrawn from the capital, where anti-regime protesters have continued a sit-in near Sanaa University despite a state of emergency called after Friday's violence.
Saleh has declared yesterday as a "national day of mourning" for the "martyrs for democracy," while blaming the opposition for "incitement and chaos" that had led to the killings.
Meanwhile, human rights minister Huda al-Baan announced late on Saturday that she was resigning in protest at Friday's bloodbath, where the undersecretary at her ministry, Ali Taysir, has also stepped down.
Baan became the third Yemeni minister to quit in as many days.
Minister of tourism Nabil al-Faqih resigned on Friday over the "unjustifiable use of force" against protesters, while Yemen's minister of religious endowments, Hamoud al-Hattar, quit earlier in the week.
The chief of the state news agency Saba has also stepped down, saying he would join the protesters, as has Yemen's ambassador to Lebanon.

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