Yemenis protest after president blames violence on 'terrorists'

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh makes a televised address to his nation on Sunday.

Story highlights

  • A protester says "soon we will march directly towards the presidential palace"
  • No deaths or injuries were reported Monday
  • In address Sunday, Saleh blamed "terrorists" for recent violence
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Yemen's capital on Monday, rejecting claims President Ali Abdullah Saleh made in a televised address.
"We are escalating, and soon we will march directly towards the presidential palace," said Tawakul Karman, a prominent revolutionist. "The will of the people is stronger today, and Saleh is already part of the past."
In his address Sunday, Saleh blamed "terrorists" for recent deadly violence at anti-government protests. The motive of the "criminal terrorists," he said, is "to seize power and to steal the wealth of the country and to undermine stability."
Protesters insisted that Saleh was trying to buy himself more time in office with the remarks.
Anti-government protests took place in eight Yemeni provinces.
Though scores have been reported killed by Yemeni forces at protests in recent days, no deaths or injuries were reported Monday.
Saleh said his vice president has the authority to sign a proposal by the Gulf Cooperation Council that would result in early presidential elections.
The United States has called on Yemen to follow the council's proposal.
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Saleh's remarks came as tens of thousands of supporters gathered Sunday at a square in Sanaa, the capital, not far from where a large protests had taken place earlier.
The president spoke from behind a desk with flowers on it and could be seen only from the shoulders up.
Saleh returned Friday from three months in Saudi Arabia, where he received medical treatment after an assassination attempt in June.
The United States, the United Nations and the European Union have called on Yemen to halt the violence and called on both sides to establish a peaceful transfer of power.
On Saturday, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement expressing its "grave concern at the continued serious deterioration of the economic and humanitarian situation in Yemen." It urged "all sides ... to reject violence" and "move forward urgently in an inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led process of political transition."
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland issued a statement "expressing deep concern about the current situation in Yemen" and again urging Saleh "to initiate a full transfer of power without delay and arrange for presidential elections" by year's end.
"Too many Yemenis have lost their lives, and each day that passes without a peaceful and orderly transition is another day that the Yemeni people are forced to live in an unstable environment that threatens their security and livelihood," she said.
Saleh said Sunday that he remains committed to a peaceful transition.