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Yemen Lawmakers OK Emergency State

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TEHRAN, March 23 (ICANA) – Yemen's Parliament has approved a state of emergency, granting the country's out-of favor president new powers to quash anti-government protests.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 8:48:51 PM
Yemen Lawmakers OK Emergency State

In total, 163 lawmakers out of the 164 who attended the special parliamentary session on Wednesday voted for imposing a state of emergency across the country for 30 days as requested by President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The opposition was quick to reject the law, saying it was “illegal.”

The law suspends the constitution, bars street protests, allows media censorship and gives security forces 30 days of far-reaching powers to arrest and detain suspects without judicial process.

Opposition groups, however, dispute the legality of the state of emergency vote, saying its adoption was a virtual certainty as Saleh's ruling party dominates the 301-seat legislature.

"What they had done to pass the state of emergency is fraud and we reject it," Abdul Razaq al-Hajri of the Al-Islah (Reform) party was quoted by AFP as saying.

"The state of emergency resolution is illegal. There's no such thing as a state of emergency" in Yemen, he said.

The Yemeni president declared a state of emergency on Friday after security forces and regime vigilantes gunned down more than 50 protesters near Sana'a University -- the epicenter of anti-government protests in the capital.

Protesters are calling for an end to Saleh's three-decade rule.

So far, a number of army commanders, including Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and some of the major tribes have expressed their support for protesters.

On Tuesday, in an attempt to appease anti-government protesters, Saleh announced that he would quit office by January 2012, 20 months earlier than planned. But the measure failed to contain nearly two months of anti-government demonstrations.

Since the beginning of anti-Saleh demonstrations, nearly 100 protesters have been killed and many others injured during clashes with security forces or supporters of Saleh, who are armed with knives and batons.

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