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Sat 23 Apr 2011 01:07 PM

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Yemeni retailers close shops in Saleh protest

Shops and businesses shut across country in protest against the rule of president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Yemeni retailers close shops in Saleh protest
Yemeni anti-government protesters call for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down. (AFP/Getty Images)

Yemenis boarded up their

shops and businesses across the country on Saturday in protest

against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Up to 90 percent of shops, markets and schools were closed

in the southern port city of Aden, a Reuters witness said. There

were few pedestrians in the streets and almost no traffic.

Many businesses were also closed for the day in the cities

of Taiz, Yemen's third city and an epicentre of opposition to

the 69-year-old-president, and Hodeidah on the Red Sea.

Yemenis flooded the streets of Sanaa and Taiz on Friday in

rival demonstrations for and against Saleh, who gave a guarded

welcome to a Gulf Arab plan for a three-month transition of

power. [ID:nLDE73L0MM]

The proposal of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council

(GCC) calls for Saleh to hand power to his vice president one

month after signing an agreement.

He would appoint an opposition leader to lead an interim

cabinet charged with preparing presidential elections two months

later, a Yemeni official said on Friday.

The plan, presented on Thursday, also gives immunity from

prosecution to Saleh, his family and aides -- anathema to his

foes, who would also have to end protests under the proposal.

Saleh's long-time Gulf and Western allies, concerned that

the chaos in Yemen will open more opportunities for ambitious al

Qaeda militants, are trying to broker an orderly transition

after three months of protests against Saleh's 32-year rule.

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