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Mon 21 Feb 2011 04:24 PM

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Yemen's Saleh says won't be forced out by 'anarchy'

Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh says any regime change must be through ballot box

Yemen's Saleh says won't be forced out by 'anarchy'
YEMENI PRESIDENT: Ali Abdullah Saleh said protesters demanding an end to his 32-year rule could not achieve their goal through anarchy and killing
Yemen's Saleh says won't be forced out by 'anarchy'

Yemeni
President Ali Abdullah Saleh said protesters demanding an end to his 32-year
rule could not achieve their goal through "anarchy and killing",
after nationwide unrest which has killed 12 people since Thursday.

In the
latest violence, soldiers shot dead a teenager in the southern port city of
Aden on Monday. Four others were wounded when the troops fired on youths
throwing stones at their patrol.

Most of the
deaths have been in Aden, where many people resent being ruled from the north.
But poverty, corruption and soaring unemployment have fuelled protest against
Saleh's government across the Arabian Peninsula's poorest state.

Protesters,
inspired by the overthrow of veteran leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, have
demonstrated in the capital Sanaa and thousands have held sit-ins in several
Yemeni cities.

Saleh has
pledged to step down in 2013 and reform parliamentary election laws, but his
call for dialogue has been rejected by opposition parties who say they cannot
negotiate with a government they say is using violence against protesters.

Saleh also
accused his opponents of trying to use force.

"Yes to
reforms," he told a news conference in Sanaa. "No to coups and
seizing power through anarchy and killing".

"If
they want power they must reach it through the ballot boxes .... You are
calling for the regime to go -- then come and get rid of it through the ballot
boxes."

Saleh, an
ally of the United States in its battle against a resurgent al Qaeda wing based
in his country, also faces a separatist revolt in the south and is trying to
maintain a shaky truce with Shi'ite Muslim rebels in the north.

Protests
have taken place across Yemen, a country of 23 million which borders the
world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of
people have protested in the cities of Ibb and Taiz, as well as in two
districts of Aden, where security has been stepped up and tanks and armoured
vehicles have been deployed on main streets.

Residents
said many shops were closed in Aden and parents were keeping their children
away from school, though markets were still open.

The leader
of the secessionist Southern Movement, Hasan Baoum, was arrested on Sunday by
an "armed military group" which took him from an Aden hospital where
he was being treated, his son, Fadi Hasan Baoum, told Reuters.

In the town
of Yahr, north of Aden, witnesses said gunmen took over government buildings on
Monday in protest at the death of a demonstrator in Aden the day before.

Witnesses
said around 3,000 people had also launched a sit-in outside Sanaa University,
scene of regular demonstrations against Saleh. Some were holding banners saying
"Leave" and "The people want the overthrow of the regime".

Saleh has
repeatedly called for dialogue with opposition parties and blamed the protests
on "elements outside the system and the law".

But the
coalition of main opposition parties, including the Islamist Islah and the
secular Socialist Party, said on Sunday there could be no dialogue with
"bullets and sticks and thuggery", or with a government "which
gathers mercenaries to ... terrorise people".