Facing protests, Yemen's leader offers to step down

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Sanaa, Mar 25: The revolt that has gripped almost the entire Middle East is about to cause the downfall of another long-standing and partially dictatorial regime.

It seems after a peaceful change of guard in the corridors of power of Egypt and Tunisia, it is now the turn of Yemen to see a regime change. Under pressure from the rapidly growing protests in his country as well as nearby countries, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh has told his supporters on Mar 25 that he was willing to step down.

In a speech broadcast on the state television, Saleh said, "We don't want power, but we need to hand power over to safe hands, not to sick, resentful or corrupt hands ... We are ready to leave power but only for safe hands."

He added, "We are against firing a single bullet and when we give concessions this is to ensure there is no bloodshed. We will remain steadfast and challenge them with all power we have."

Protests in Yemen have gathered mass in recent times as more than ten thousand people took to streets of Sanaa, the capital city of the Islamic nation and upped the demand for the ouster of Saleh who is currently into his third-decade in power.

However, Aljazeera has reported that the opposition groups aren't too willing to buy his reasons and have vowed to continue with the demonstration until he steps down. It has quoted opposition spokesman Mohammed al Sabry as saying, "No dialogue and no initiatives for this dead regime."

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