March 31, 2011
SANAA, Yemen, March 31 (UPI) -- A senior Yemeni political official said the opposition plans to escalate protests and called on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave the country.
In an interview with the BBC, Hamid al-Ahmar of the Islamist Islah party said Saleh must leave Yemen immediately, adding it is not enough for him to step down from power.
Saleh and his family "have no immediate future in Yemen. They should leave power, they should leave the country for their own safety," he said.
"If he goes now, he can still go with some dignity, but his time is running out," Ahmar warned, adding the opposition plans to escalate anti-government protests, the BBC said Thursday.
Saleh reportedly offered to step down by the end of the year, however the proposal was rejected by the opposition, The Daily Telegraph said.
Ahmar is considered a powerful figure in the country's tribal and political circles, the British broadcaster said.
Mohammed Qahtan, opposition spokesman in the Parliament told the Telegraph Saleh "throws his different cards here and there every minute and every day and maneuvers ... in an attempt to remain in power."
The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that thousands of anti government protesters in Sana'a Wednesday vowed to storm Saleh's presidential palace on Friday if he refuses to leave.