Yemen clerics urge unity government
Influential group demands transitional government with opposition representation in order to save country from chaos.
A group of clerics in Yemen have called for the formation of a national unity government in order to save the country from chaos, Al Jazeera has learnt.
The influential figures are demanding a transitional unity government that would see the opposition represented in key ministries, followed by elections in six months.
They say the move would place Yemen in the same situation as Egypt and Tunisia, without suffering bloodshed.
Their comments come amid fresh clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters on Thursday in Sanaa, the capital.
Loyalists of the government wielding batons and daggers chased a group of protesters meeting at the city’s university, witnesses said. At least five people were injured in the violence.
Demonstrators are also continuing a protest in the southern city of Taiz.
On Wednesday, two protesters were killed Aden, a southern port city, while protesting against the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president.
Unrest has swept the streets of Yemen for the past one week, with anti-government protesters clashing with government supporters and security forces.
In the face of the unrest, Saleh has postponed a visit to the United States that had been planned for later this month, after the opposition agreed on Sunday to resume talks suspended since October.
Eyeing protests that brought down the presidents of Tunisiaand Egypt, Saleh, in power since 1978, pledged earlier this month not to stand in the next presidential elections. He also vowed not to pass on the reins of power to his son.
But his pledges apparently have done little end the protests.
Of the 23 million people in Yemen, 40 per cent live on less than $2 a day and a third suffer chronic hunger.