Yemen’s president on April 11 rejected a proposal by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that he step down before the end of his term in 2013, the latest blow to efforts to work out a peaceful transfer of power in the restive country. With Yemen sinking more and more into turmoil, the GCC called on Saleh a day earlier to step down as part of a deal with the protest movement demanding his ouster after 32 years. The GCC did not specify a time frame for a transfer of power from Saleh to his deputy. Saleh’s carefully worded response came in a statement from the presidential palace, stressing that the president “has repeatedly expressed no reservations to the peaceful and easy transfer of power within the constitution,” which allows him to remain in office until the 2013 elections.
The anti-government protesters, on the other hand, insisted that Saleh step down and that he and his family members be put on trial. Keeping up the pressure, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets Monday in the country’s major cities, pushing for Saleh to go. In Sanaa, the demonstrators included a considerable number of women. There were also marches in the main streets of Taiz, Aden and elsewhere.