By Adrian Blomfield, Middle East Correspondent 30 Mar 2011
Hundreds of thousands of protesters again took to the streets in Yemen despite a new offer from the country’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to remain in office until the end of the year but only in a ceremonial role.
Yemen opposition officials negotiating with the president said that Mr Saleh’s offer would see him handing over the bulk of his powers to a transitional ruling council until elections can be held at the end of the year.
The opposition said it was still considering its response, but protesters on the streets accused Mr Saleh of stalling and seeking unduly to influence the appointment of his successor.
"The president throws his different cards here and there every minute and every day and manoeuvres... in an attempt to remain in power," said Mohammed Qahtan the parliamentary opposition's spokesman.
They also accused him of responsibility for an explosion in an arms dump that killed 140 civilians trying to steal weapons.
Last week, Mr Saleh reportedly offered to step down by the end of 2011, a proposal snubbed by the opposition. But his ruling party said on Friday he should serve out his current term until the next scheduled presidential election in 2013.